November 2010 Archives

Annotated Bib #3

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Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Fat art, thin art . Durham: Duke University Press, 1994. Print.

I found this book searching for related works by Eve Sedgwick, on the University of Minnesota's library website. This is a book of poems, and some are related to her personal life and experiences. Due to her focus on exploring sexual identity or same sex relationships through literary work, I feel that this book of poems by her did a great job in exploring these different identities. The book is divided into three parts with the first part of the book consisting of shorter poems and written in a first-person narrative. The other two parts of the book tell a story about individuals discovering their true self.


PELLEGRINI, ANN. " Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education." Home - The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle, 8 May 2009. Web. 30 Nov. 2010. .

Upon searching for more information relating to Eve Sedgwick, I came across an article written by Ann Pelegrini, who discussed about the life of Eve Sedgwick and her related works. I thought this article did a great job in giving brief information about the breadth of her work and how her work impacted Queer studies. This article went more in depth about how each of her work was tied into Sedgwick's personal life, and how her personal life was also a part of the thriving force behind her studies on gender identity.


Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. A dialogue on love . Boston: Beacon Press, 1999. Print.

Using the University of Minnesota's library website, I was able to find this book and read a few chapters from it. This book starts off introducing the readers to who Shannon Van Wey is and becomes a book with a record of Sedgwick's journey through cancer. In this book Sedgwick and her therapist, Shannon build a strong relationship with one another and throughout the book Sedgwick records their conversation as well as her own thoughts as if it were a journal. When Sedgwick undergoes her mastectomy, she starts to question her gender identity, and as a reader we get to take a deeper look into what she is discovering for herself through this journey.

Direct Engagement #3

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Judith Halberstam embraces the identity of the punk rock image for girls as she discloses some of her own personal examples of experiencing with this rebellious image. She emphasizes her claim that during the 1970s that it gave young women the opportunity to reject femininity and release the inner boy in them, no pun intended. :) She later goes into the "problems" of teenage tomboyism saying that girls are more apt to be punished if they conform to that male identification image, for instance, taking a boy's name or dressing in all guy's clothes and refusing to dress like a "lady." She basically continues to state that being a tomboy is ok as long as it ends up that the tomboy enters marriage and motherhood to a child. It just amazes me that tomboyism cannot be viewed as a normative standard. The world has such a diverse array of different people and just because one woman's mannerisms and desire to dress more like a man does not mean it is going to affect the rest of the feminist population--they are mutually exclusive factors that only insecure and judgmental people cannot wrap their brain around. Androgyny is probably my new favorite word, and I was very excited to see it mentioned in the text, because it literally mean, man/woman--in this particular case, a mix of both masculine and feminine qualities. Argue all you want, but every person on this earth has qualities of each gender. Why do you think men and women argue all the time? It's because men and women are more alike than what they think and thus those hidden similarities are what makes them butt heads and fail to realize they are arguing about the same thing! Moral of the story is to go through life with a transparent mindset and letting others who different into your life and see what insight they can provide for you--tomboy, tomgirl, barbie, or ken--we all share similar qualities.

Query Response 2

Chester_selfish: I've been bisexuality marginalized by LGBT and straight communities alike. What are others thoughts on this?

So, this is the second time I have posted this entry. I can't for the life of me find it except for in my log so I must not have hit publish or something. So again, here is my response to the above mentioned Query...
This is a topic that is personally very important to me. I think everyone in the LGBTQ community has to face a constant battle every time they step out their door. However, I think there is an added element that the bisexual community has to face. Like radioedit's comment bisexuality is often not even recognized as a sexual identity and like Amy J stated, because of this it seems like there are some extremely negative ideas about that community. One I hear a lot is that a bisexual person is "greedy", "wants the best of both worlds". Needless to say that all three of the previous comments are incredibly offensive and oppressing to the community at large. It is similar to any lesbian that comes out to her family and friends who then dismiss it as "just a phase".
In addition, a majority of the time, bisexuals are exiled from the straight community and the gay community alike. It is a feeling of not belonging anywhere which can be incredibly isolating. I think it is unfortunate that any person ever has to feel that regardless of gender, sexual identity, race, religion, or any of the other things that make us all individuals.

remiz/revisit my query response

Bullying
By Dani_d29 on September 28, 2010 10:43 AM | 2 Comments

Question: Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?

I think that online social networks can be just as dangerous as offline bullying. There might not be a physical aspect online (although it might lead to a physical contfrontation offline) there is a huge danger in emotional and mental bullying. The phrase "sticks and stones" is nice to believe but it just isnt true. I think that we all depend on words and each word has a certain depth and meaning and can be extremely hurtful, especially when there's more than one bully. I believe there was a case a few years ago where a young girl killed herself because she was being harrassed on facebook or myspace. She was being harrassed so much online that she thought the only way to escape was to end her life. Like I said, there might not be a physical aspect to online social networks but it's still just as dangerous. But thats just my opinion.


During this time I thought that online bullying was just as bad as offline bullying but without the physical aspect.

After reading everything from this class and my research for my annot. bib. I've concluded that I think online bullying is a little worse than offline. Yes, there still (usually) isn't a physical harm in online bullying but during my research I've found that some people suppressed their desires and wants because they were made fun of/bullied online and I believe that hiding who you really are is one of the worst things you can do to yourself especially if it's because someone else is causing you to feel bad about yourself. With all of that said, I think its pretty important for us to look back on our initial thoughts because if this hadn't of been assigned I wouldn't have realized that my opinions have shifted at all so I think it's good for us to see if/how our opinions have changed. I also think it is very important and wonderful that we have access to all of our old entries and comments because there is a lot of factual information and very interesting ideas and thoughts.

Ann Bibl: Jud Butl (Kind of?)

For this annotated bibliography I'm going to try to do some queer thinking/analyzing with three sources that don't have a reference to Judith Butler, but I'm going to weave in things that I've learned from Butler to help me queer my sources.
Yah?
Let's give it a try.

Sources:

The Daily Beast, http://www.thedailybeast.com/
The Social Network's Female Props, by Rebecca Davis O'Brien

Corrupt: Conservation and Conservatism, http://www.corrupt.org/
How Feminism Destroys Chivalry

Feminist Film Theory, http://www.let.uu.nl/
Feminism Film Theory, by Anneke Smelik


Content:

First and foremost, as a disclaimer, I have not seen The Social Network, but I mean to. I found an article on it that was kind of interesting and I wanted to ponder it further.
social network.jpg
The article, by O'Brien talks about the movie and gave it a good review... with the exception of the portrayal of the female characters. All except two came across as sluts or stupid in the movie, or at least at the mercy of the men in their lives. Another thing pointed out in the article was the use of shot during the movie and how it seemed to linger on women's bodies and the question was raised: "are they using shots that linger on women's bodies because that's the way these male characters look at women, or because its cinematic eye candy?"
I can't answer the question because I haven't seen it; if you have thoughts, please share! I would have to assume that it's a half/half kind of thing going on- every shot in a movie has a distinct purpose, the lingering shots may just serve two purposes instead of one.
The point of the article was to bring to mind the fact that this movie has been called "the Citizen Kane of this generation" and "a timeless and compelling story that speaks volumes about the way we live today" (New York Post). O'Brien argues that this is not the case, and if women are portrayed half as stupidly as she says they are in the film then I hope that this movie does anything but define my generation...
This of course is going to lead me to the site about feminist film theory- which is basically a theory that says that film has and will continue to reflect our society and deeply influence it. Visual and audial representation in one artistic form is extremely hard to dismiss, especially when the messages are subliminal. The theory states that many movies are patriarchal and hetero-normative in nature, intentionally or otherwise, and that it's important that this be pointed out, taken notice of, and, most importantly, changed. However:

"...the insight dawned that positive images were not enough to change underlying structures in film. Feminist critics tried to understand the all-pervasive power of patriarchal imagery..."

So ideally, once it was understood, we could change the underlying structures instead of just following the same story line and changing the character sex/sexual orientation.
I thought of Judith Butler when this quote came around and the idea of "creating trouble." The effect the feminist film theorists want is not simply a surface fix of making the female character more powerful or smarter, or making a romantic comedy about two gay men instead of a straight man and a straight woman. They want to go deeper into the structure of film, of Hollywood, of the movie industry as a whole, and recreate it- who runs it, who produces it, how cinematography works, what/why/when is the body beautiful and when is it being used for ticket sales? I think this is Butler-esque in that they want to change the system as a whole, look at it on a deeper level rather than just putting bandaids on a wound that's too deep.
A critique of this of course is that the "new movies" wouldn't appeal to a larger population, just to those who remade the movie business- the feminism ideals would kill the adventures, thrillers, and romantic comedies because part of their appeal is that they follow basic formats...especially the Romantic Comedy. RC's are pretty typically about a man and a woman and they meet and it's cutesy and awkward and then they hit some rough spots but in the end, ohhhh, the man comes through with a gesture of chivalric sweetness and the woman swoons and ohhhh, they get married. Que longing smiles.
It's said that feminist values in film would kill that, and it's been further stated that feminist values kill chivalry in real life, too.
feminist killjoy.jpg

This is obviously untrue.

Part two.... my take on things

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It felt a little surreal going through the videos as well as the I finally got through picking through what I was trying to say or to tease out some of the points that came out through my rants. Through out the whole issues of "youth subjectivity" came out.

Part One

I understand that the video itself is a little all over the place and kinda takes a long detour away from the text in itself so here's a couple of things so one doesn't have to sit through the whole thing I wanted it up as a whole so that folks and can "see" how I process a little but watching through the whole thing for me is starting to give me a headache, but one can skip the first three min of the video and as well as the part where I start talking about legos and such it's kinda irrelevant and I wasn't sure where I was going with it.

Points:

Specifically focusing on the text this part of my rant/process is getting at initially getting at where the "youth" subject or it's place in the discussion. There is a difference I feel that needs to be distinguished from those bodies that are seen not being able to participate within the political sphere and those bodies that are "not yet allowed to" participate or are a reflection of those that are able to.

Grief and youth
In Butler's essay she touches on how "grief" provides a different way to thing through a "complex community" and that it exposes how "I" and the "other" cannot be easily distinguished or excised from each other. In this rant/process I bring up the image of the grieving child and I didn't quite elaborate on it or really connect it that effectively to the reading. I feel that when youth subjectivity is place upon the conversation it thoroughly confuses things and complicates it differently. Butler states that "Many people think that grief is privatizing" although I agree with this point this I feel only pertain to those that are fully formed subjects. In terms of youth subjectivity grief, I feel, is not privatizing it impels the opposite reaction. Grief in terms of youth impels intervention that as a youth grief is not allowed or should be kept as minimum . Butler puts forth the idea that grief is a transformative agreement in which what "becomes" is not necessarily known, but here only those that are allowed to or seen as being able to enter into this agreement are recognized. So where does that place the "youth subject"?
I "see" it like this: the youth subject is seen or conceived of as a representation of what they are to become, which is a fully formed political and participatory subject so when a "youth" grieves then it represents the grief of the fully formed subject hence there is a mandatory impulse to intervene.

Part 2

Violence and youth
In this part I touched a little on the continuation of grief and the community and as well as touch on the idea of violence. Much like my points in the previous section about youth subjectivity I wanted to play with the idea of violence and more specifically how violence is conceptualized towards youth. I also wanted to touch a little on the idea of autonomy and how that particular idea is also a very priviledged one in terms of subject position. Violence against youth is redirected towards a more real subject whether its the community or their providers. I still kind of need to tease out this idea so I will leave this part up for the class on thursday :)


ok here's a thank you vid... just a short thank you yo :)


Ok So heres a link to the couple other videos just in case folks wanted to check it out

http://www.youtube.com/user/pinstin

I found her main inquery "What type of community is formed by those who are "beside themselves", to be a very interesting question.

This question reminded me again of the human community, the collective community that experiences grief and is worthy of grief. This type of community makes us realize, as Butler states, that we are all affected by eachother. In her argument, I see grief and ecstacy as two necessary dualistic parts of human nature. We need one, to understand the other. It reminds me of the Buddhist dualism of suffering/happiness. One cannot exist without the other. The very part of our "humanness" understands this double edged sword all too well. This is what MAKES us human.

So, to bring something completely random in, my senior quote for the high school yearbook was "i believe in the pure randomness of it all, and i take comfort in the fact that no one escapes, it can happen to anyone at any time... pain, confusion, happiness, even love".

Now, these emotions definitely make us human, but the amount of pain, confusion, happiness, and love one receives in their life is based upon many more factors than just being human. So this leads us once again to the question of which lives are grievable or worthy, and which are not? Who am I to answer that question anyways?

Human rights? Inalienable human rights? What are these? Access to shelter, food, water, a livable wage? Not everyone has those things. Or could it be argued that people should have access to cleanliness, or culturally appropriate food? Healthcare? Vaccines? How do we go about insuring that everyone has this access?

How does autonomy fit into this? If we are in fact, "undone" by others and are often implicated into lives that are "not our own" how can we claim autonomy?

"Is there a way that we might struggle for autonomy in many spheres but also consider the demands that are imposed upon us by living in a world of beings who are, by definition, physically dependent on one another, physically vulnerable to one another."

What is lost in the struggle for autonomy? The ability to relate to eachother and form a community? The fact that we must make ourselves vulnerable to eachother in order to fight for a common politics (such as the struggle for autonomy, but in doing so we are in fact losing our autonomy? Since, she argues, "we do have a collective responsibility for the physical lives of one another"?

Butler, you are a genius. I am going to be trying to figure this out for awhile! And when I figure it out... i think my mind may be blown.

Butler Diablog Summary "Let's face it, we're undone by eachother"

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I feel completely inept to be writing about Butler, or analyzing her all the same. So in an effort to try and understand and make sense of "Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy" I will analyze certain points that I find important to the reading.

She begins by posing the question, "what makes our life bearable, and what makes others lives bearable?" She calls these, "questions of the human". She implies that when there is grief, which lives within the binary of grief/desire, we find ourselves fallen and something happens- mourning, "which has to do with the transformation of the human". This transformation cannot be known in advance, and can be different every time.

"What claims us at such moments, such that we are not the masters of ourselves? To what are we tied? And by what are we seized?"
This complete utter overwhelming sadness, feeling of falling... Everyone has been there and everyone deals and reaches for different things at these times. In these moments something about who we are is revealed, we loose our autonomy and control of the "self" in a certain sense during the grief process.

She then looks at the possibilities for using this grief in a "collective responsibility for the physical lives of one another" rather than the usual alternative of violence. It looks at the issue of violence towards those outside the conjugal social norms in gender and questions whether a desire to kill those outside these norms suggests that life 'requires a set of sheltering norms, and that to be outside it, is to court death."

So... Butler's main inquery: "The predicament is to decide which kind of community is composed by those who are besides themselves."

When discussing the body and autonomy, it is interesting to point out the limits to sexual autonomy. We are discussing the ways in which our bodies are never completely autonomous because they are in fact affected by other people constantly. Even though we conceptualize our bodies as OURS and autonomous, as we must in order to politically organize around certain bodily struggles, we must acknowledge that violence affects people's bodies, therefore pointing out that bodies are never autonomous. "The body has its invariably public dimension, constituted as a social phenomenon in the public sphere, my body is and is not mine". So, in the struggle for autonomy, what are we really fighting for?

She goes on to discuss how vulnerability plays into grief. Saying that vulnerability is a human characteristic. She asks, "Or are we, rather, returned to a sense of human vulnerability, to our collective responsibility for the physical lives of one another?" So why do we try to banish vulnerability? Why is vulnerability wrong? If it really is a human characteristic, which it is, what's wrong with being vulnerable? As Butler states, vulnerability is "one of the most important resources from which we must take our bearings and find our way".

Grief once again can be the basis for politics and forming communities around struggles.

She calls into question the task of creating or understanding the "human". She asks what makes a human intelligible, and what people are not considered human because they are not intelligible. She asks, "what if new forms of gender are possible, what would that mean for the human community"? Gender regulations raises the question does gender pre-exist regulation or have regulations themselves created gendered subjects? To assume gender exclusively means masculine and feminine is to miss the point that those genders that do not fit with the norm are just as much a part of the perceived gendered norms as they themselves.

"To assert sexual rights, then, takes on a specific meaning against this background. It means, for instance, that when we struggle for rights, we are not simply struggling for rights that attach to my person, but we are struggling to be conceived as persons". We are struggling to be seen as intelligible, recognized as human, legitimized, autonomous.

Next she looks at the issue of violence towards those outside the conjugal social norms in gender and questions whether a desire to kill those outside these norms suggests that life 'requires a set of sheltering norms, and that to be outside it, is to court death."

What would happen if we allowed the human to be something other than what we traditionally deem it to be? What we do not know then comes into question, and in order to be nonviolent we must be comfortable with not knowing. As Butler points out, the violent person does not ask, or try to understand what is unknown. Because that would be vulnerable? Because maybe violence is easier?

She then goes into discussing ways of "knowing" the human. What constitutes the human and what qualifies as a livable human life. Then she goes into the cultural relativist versus "everyone has inalienable human rights" arguments. "When we ask what makes a life livable, we are asking about certain normative conditions that must be fulfilled for life to become life". This could very easily come back to the inalienable human rights argument.

Wow, I am spent and my recently concussed brain (I got a pretty bad concussion snowboarding and have been dizzy with major headaches) had quite the hard time processing and thinking critically about Butler. Thanks Butler, as many times as you have been drilled into my head in 4 years you still make my brain spin!

Query Response 3- Hetero magazines

QUERY BY: sharpbubbles

This is a really interesting blog post about women's magazines and heteronormativity- http://bit.ly/cQfIxJ Really interesting. #qd2010 Monday, November 22, 2010 9:11:09 PM via web

It's funny how heteronormative (and male centered) that our society is. I mean they pretty much killed those "how to please your man" topics because it's in almost every issue. Not to mention the fact that I think it's a little different for every guy (or it might not be, I'm not sure) on what pleases him. Why do they think women rely on their magazine to find out what their man wants? Also, there shouldn't be any reason why there isn't "how to please your woman" topics that they publish. I feel like the "queer" movement is coming a long way so I don't see why they still don't publish homonormative topics and issues to their GLBT readers. I mean I don't read ANY of those magazine because they don't apply to me what-so-ever. But to be honest I probably wouldn't read them even if they had "how to please your woman" topics because I would just find out for myself what "my" woman is pleased by.

Direct Engagement #3

I would like to write about the reading that we have done on "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive". Sorry for not voicing up during our discussion last week as I do not fully understand the reading that time. But thanks to the research that I have done on my (S)Mashed Bibliography I have come across a video of a historian / politic scientist in Malaysia which have gave me a better insight of the work of an archive scholars and understand more of the passage. I am posting the videos at the end of this entry and I hope that will help you guys in understanding more too. I have read through all the diablogs that were done on this reading and these have help me write this entry of direct engagement. Anyway I would also like to bring out one of my finding, it may not be true, but I have found out that there are not much written about Malaysia or the South-East Asia, it seems that this region still pretty much remains exotic.

I guess we should not only focus on the history which the archive left us to interpret or discover but also to pay attention to the word colonial, or to be precise colonialism which means, the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically. There is one thing that the definition that I have mentioned left out and most people seems to have overlook which is the overtake of culture. The invasion of the "norm-queer" culture to the "queer-norm" culture of the local.

For this we should also look into the pre-colonial era, which I think will very much help us understand the importance of reinvestigate the history of the colonial archives are presenting to us. This helps explain what Aronderkar was saying, that "the process of "queering" pasts has been realized through corrective reformulation of "suppressed" or misread colonial material. I personally think that what she meant is that the colonialist have suppressed the culture of the of the native which they consider queer but were very much the norm of the society back then. If you take a look at the native culture, arts, literature etc are considered very queer. One perfect example was presented by Dr. Farish Noor of the practice of the native on some island in south east asia about the courtship of men by having "dangling rattle" which were being pierce through a men's penis. He explains that these practice and encounter are benign until the colonial era.

I guess what makes it so different from the Greek "practice" and why it is worth looking into is that pre-colonial era or the colonial era is a closer history to us. Besides the arts and culture are still being practice but was modified or have been normalized.

I think that we are not trying to validate the history but rather to recover what is supposed to be presented or understand. To track back queer history of the East or the colonial archive, we have to totally deconstruct our understanding towards the history that have been presented to us as it is extremely sanitized by historian who are presenting it to us. Only by abandoning our understanding towards the present presented history will enable us to sport the real history. Besides the reason why we are doing this partly is because it help us to understand better in way to reverse the so call norm which is queer in the pass and the norm is the queer in the past. Furthermore we should not forget that when we are looking at the colonial archive, we are looking at the history being presented through the lens of the westerner who might not have an in depth understanding of the local culture, thus his work might not reflect the culture or event which he or she choose to record. There's always both side for a story if not multiple.

Archival work is also important as she brought up the question that "How can one accept sexuality studies claims for innovative interdisciplinary if the very turn to interdisciplinary is an epistemological restaging of the colonial states?"

There were comment saying that we should not be too obsessed with the archive but to me every subject needs people to be obsessed with, we called it professional in the academia. History is a subject which facilitates the understanding of the queer culture in whole and also facilitates the discourse of such topic. But of course it would not be effective if it stands alone as a discourse.


*ignore the first 2 minutes of the video

Engagement 2: "Feminist Killjoys"

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Ahmed sets up the this chapter by discussing the figure of the happy housewife and "how this figure works to secure not just ideas of happiness but ideas of who is entitled to happiness". Making this important distinction, she argues that it is "not so much how happiness is distributed [...] but the distribution of relative proximity to ideas of happiness" or "the feeling of a promise [...] as such" (51). So then, the aspects and measures of 'happiness' that are even thought to be attainable and within reach/possible are given much weight for Ahmed's argument, seen as the ability of envisioning beyond the constraints seemingly imposed on one's life. As feminism often uses such tactics as 'consciousness-raising' and the like, becoming aware of that which is hidden or distorted as it relates to the way one lives a life can be seen as a loss (or unhappiness) for what could have been but isn't/wasn't. Ahmed also discusses a new age of happy housewives who rail against the notion that they are subjugated and repressed and instead seek to claim their own form of happiness against a more 'liberated' and feminist notion of what constitutes the 'good' life.

Along with the figure of the unhappy housewife (as deployed by some feminists), the feminist killjoy enters the discussion as a person that disrupts this 'script' and the happiness associated with the supposed 'good' life. Ahmed suggests that, "we can reread the negativity of such figures in terms of the challenge they offer to the assumption that happiness follows relative proximity to a social ideal" and that "feminist consciousness as a form of unhappiness [...] may be useful in an exploration of the limitations of happiness as a horizon of experience" (53). Whether striving for a feminist social ideal of how to live life or any other ideal, if what we are seeking is to find a narrow idea of happiness we are perhaps misled. Rather than focusing on an individual or group's disposition or ability to be happy, we can look to what feminists (especially the killjoy here) are unhappy about (67).
"Feminist consciousness can thus be thought as consciousness of the violence and power that are concealed under the languages of civility and love [... and...] you can cause unhappiness merely by noticing something. [...] Feminism becomes a kind of estrangement from the world and thus involves moments of self-estrangement. Our feminist archive is an archive of unhappiness even though the threads of unhappiness do not weave our stories together" (86).

And, stating what I believe to be the overall goal with this text (so far): "My desire is to revitalize the feminist critique of happiness as a human right and as the appropriate language for politics" (87).
The last lines provide the basis for what may unite those of us seeking to disrupt that which has been covered over with happiness: "There is solidarity in recognizing our alienation from happiness, even if we do not inhabit the same place (as we do not). There can even be joy in killing joy. And kill joy, we must and we do" (87).

To critically engage and question this idea of happiness and how it can be deployed either for or against feminist claims in a political context as well as how we individually and collectively place our hopes in finding happiness in social ideals seems to be what Ahmed is taking on with her work. By exposing unseen imbalances of power and bringing to the surface that which is hidden in the form of raising consciousness is inherently a sort of mourning for that which has been lost or covered. Though this is an inherent part of becoming aware, rather than to rework how we can interpret and deploy a more affirming perspective is rather to question if happiness should even be the aim for feminists. Pushing this further is not necessarily redefining 'happiness' to suit our needs/desires but to constantly disrupt what others may find happiness in.

The role of the feminist killjoy is something that resonates deeply with me and that I can completely relate with. I'm not faced with too many situations in which I am read as an angry feminist, however my silence and awkwardness kills just as much joy I'm sure. I tense at the mention of essentialist characterizations of anyone on account of appearance (race/class/gender/etc.) and of oversimplified descriptions of anything (events/life/people) that too heavily rely on larger social ideals. When intersectionality and critical engagement are missing, there are very few ways I find what others say as anything of importance or value. I tend to complicate and problematize even the most simple of gestures and statements, and often this means causing awkward silences or situations in which I am estranged. Events such as this past thanksgiving bring me to face discussions such as: my 16 year nephew 'being friends with all the girls but no girlfriend!', and how knowing the sex of my nephew-to-be 'makes it so you don't have to deal with the green and yellow thing' and various other heteronormative gender ideals. Though these examples are small, I wonder more generally when killing joy is most effective and appropriate. Specifically in the context of family, are there some things best left unsaid? Is it worth engaging in debates over the ridiculousness of gendering babies with harmless color schemes? Is it worth pointing out that heterosexual development as seen as inevitable can be harmful? Where do we choose our battles? What if others cannot argue on our terms and are so completely in a different reality that what we say makes no sense?

D.E. DUEX: Queer Time

I am interested in further engagement with Judith Jack Halberstam's "What's That Smell?: Queer Temporalities and Subcultural Lives". In this essay, Halberstam discusses temporalities of people, particularly the differences in those temporalities experienced between queer communities and their heterosexual counterparts. In this way, Halberstam is referring to heterosexual temporalities as those developed to institutions of family, heterosexuality, reproduction, and kinship. Queer subcultures and "epistemology of youth" "disrupts conventional accounts of subculture, youth culture, adulthood, race, class, and maturity" (Halberstam). To live queerly can be to imagine futures "according to logics that lie outside of the conventional forward-moving narratives of birth, marriage, reproduction, and death". Halberstam sees this concept of queer also as detached from sexual identity exclusively, where by it can be defined "as an outcome of temporality, life scheduling, and eccentric economic practices" (Halberstam).

queer time.png

Because of my sexual orientation, the life I live is considered outside the heteronormal (though well within the homonormal). My life narrative and future does not (necessarily) depend or relate to institutions of the "traditional" family, which reinscribe patriarchy and capitalism through marriage and childbirth. Does this mean that I have more free time then "straight" people? Am I stuck in "youth"? Halberstam suggests that queer communities have exploded in presence over the last few decades, which forces us to redefine the binary of adolescence and adulthood, further problematizing the heteronormative. What would happen if we acknowledge "non-heterosexual, non-exclusively male, non-white and non-adolescent subcultural production in all its specificity"?

Beside Oneself: an indirect, undisciplined engagement

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Screen shot 2010-11-27 at 1.40.04 PM.pngThis one's for my post-it note fans.

Although I did the digital post-it notes a while ago for a direct engagement and have somewhat traded my yellow stickies for the convenience and immediacy of Twitter, I really like being able to post pictures of my physical notes on our blog -- very rarely are we, as students, encouraged to share or engage with (or queer) our personal reading habits. This particular entry is not only meant to be a queering of virtual/reality, but of time as well, since a few of these post-it notes are repeats of notes that I posted last year when we read this chapter in Queering Theory.
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For my part of the diablogue I decided to split it up into two posts "My summary yo" and "This is where I'm at... awwwww snaps". For the summary I will try to outline the Butler text, pick out a few main points and areas of interest. For the second post I will go into further detail of my own perspective and questions and "fuzzy areas" I may have.

My Summary Yo
In this piece Butler explores the limits of the Sexual Autonomy, and no, not in the typical "pros and cons" fashion but she tries to explore or focus her critique on its very "limits". She puts forth question involving humanity, the body, and sexuality. She also discusses the importance of grief and as well as violence Butler also discusses the importance of being "beside oneself" and issues of survivability, livability, and autonomy. I will focus my summary on her discussion on humanity, grief, and violence

Humanity
"If we take the field of the human for granted, then we fail to think critically and ethically about the consequential ways that the human is being produced, reproduced, and deproduced." (Butler 36)

What is human? In our class discussion we have delved into the process of "queering the human" In this text Butler poses a critique on the processes how the "human" is constituted. Butlers encourages thinking through the ways the "human as being produced, reproduced and deproduced". She discusses the way in which the permutations of the "human" are not predictable; that the "human" has to be open to negotiation. The important question then is not "what is a human" but "how does the "human" come to be? what are included or excluded in this permutation of the "human"and what are its implications?

Grief
"Many people thing that grief is privatizing, that it returns us to a solitary situation, but I think that it exposes the constitutive sociality of the self, a basis for thinking a community of a complex order" (Butler 19)
Grief or the importance of it. In this piece Butler discusses the importance of grief that instead of grief pushing us into a solitary state that it exposes the "constitutive sociality of the self" . What does that mean? My initial reaction is how the hell should I know, but upon further thought on the matter I feel that it she touches on the idea that "we", (and she troubles this idea of "we") are greatly affected by others or those outside out own body. And the very act of grieving or the state of "grief" demonstrates this influence the other has on "us".

Violence
"So what is the relation between violence and what is "unreal," bwtween violence and unreality that attends to those who become the victims of violence, and where does the notion of the ungrievable come in?" (Butler 24)
Violence Butler touches on violence.More specifically the relationship of violence to the "real". Violence is only inflicted on subjects that are "real". She uses the example of the representation or media representation of those lives that have been lost through aids in africa. Asking where are these representation?

I know fully that there are a few areas in this piece that I could tease out further but this is not a straight up summary but instead areas of the piece that "stood out to me" although I on briefly touch on it I welcome any comments and such on what I put forth. (isn't that what blogs are for :) ) But I also am going to go deeper with these areas in part two of my blog post involving some of my personal areas of interest; involving theorization of the youth subject.

Fighting Bullying with Kitsch: a query response no. 2

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For now, let us abandon all easy hormonal explanations for why babies elicit the emotional response described in David Bornstein's New York Times article, "Fighting Bullying With Babies," and turn our attention to aesthetics. We may well be "hardwired to be aggressive and selfish," but we are also hardwired to react appropriately to kitsch imagery, like babies -- babies and puppies and kittens and the like are cute, they earn our immediate love and affection, and thus we are not degraded by attending to their shit in public places.

I'm not necessarily opposed to Roots of Empathy's bully-fighting methods or devices - puppies are often brought to children's hospital wards to lift the spirits of sick children, which has proven an effective treatment - but their intentions, in this instance, raise some concern:

[Mary Gordon] envisioned Roots as a seriously proactive parent education program -- one that would begin when the mothers- and fathers-to-be were in kindergarten.

Ew. Parent training, really? Obviously much can be said -- and has been said in our queerings of children and futurity -- of assuming that all children in kindergarten are "mothers- and fathers-to-be," but the larger issue here is that bullying and harassment do not begin in kindergarten, do not begin with a few bad seeds that merely need to be tamed and taught to empathize, as Mary Gordon would have it:

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Obviously, Mary Gordon's utopian hopes ignore the fact that targets of vile harassment, such as Tyler Clementi, and fatal violence, such as Victoria White, are systemically produced, and are not merely victims of school-yard bullying. She also fails to acknowledge that her methods for fighting homophobic bullying actually serve to reinscribe the very heterosexual norms and ideals that produce homosexuality - and other queer identities, such as non-reproductive heterosexual kinship - as abjectly unnatural, and thus detestable and threatening. In his article, Bornstein casually mentions the possibility of Molly Wei and Dharun Ravi being charged with hate crimes, a possibility that we are supposed to find reassuring, I imagine. However, in the New York Times article he links to that discusses the former Rutgers students and their exploits, such allegations are not only dismissed, but the article mentions the New Jersey based queer organization, Queering the Air, whose website voices concern over "the politics of revenge" -- such as are often present in hate crime charges -- drawing attention, rather, to violence and hatred as products of Ideology, systematically produced and reinforced:

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Part Third of engaging directly: Transparent

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Conceiving of gender or embodied identity as multifarious and variable presents an emphatic opposition to any understanding of sex and gender as an anticipatory causality. Thumbnail image for transgender.jpgAs Susan David Bernstein addresses, parents who encourage gender transgression, or queer gender expression, are often met with fear from norm-conforming parents who perceive of anatomy as an end-all-be-all, inherent signification of gender identity - which only really makes sense if one's gender is inherently connected to one's genitals, making such anxieties altogether inconsistent. Thumbnail image for boy:girl.png

Ironically, it is precisely the anxiety over these purportedly "immature" gender expressions threatening the "natural order" (itself a man-made fabrication) that negate all convictions of there being a natural order -- an issue that Bernstein attempts to take up in "Transparent," making a case study of her daughter, Nora's, gender transgression. What is made readily apparent in Bernstein's illustration is that Nora's understanding of gender is far more sophisticated and nuanced than that of any of the adults she comes into contact with. For instance, when Bernstein relates the reactions Nora was repeatedly confronted with by strangers, Bernstein herself interprets her daughter's gender identity as meeting the conditions of a developing trans(sexual) identity - a transition, or in Nora's case "experimentation," from to . However, Nora seemingly understands her own gender identity as existing in an unknown elsewhere, a nonspace that, rather than presenting a hindrance or demarcating the possibilities for her gender expression, provides her to create her own possibilities for a gender beyond binary understandings of boy or girl:

Nora reported that she liked fooling people about her gender, and that's why she didn't correct them. But she didn't always appreciate the crooked stares that were pitched her way in public restrooms [...] Once Nora came home from school absolutely delighted with herself. An unfamiliar woman had encountered Nora in the girls' room and said, with a smile, 'I think this is the girls' room!' and Nora, echoing the woman's intonation, quipped, 'I think I'm a girl!'

The joy that Nora experiences in queering gendered spaces, and peoples' perceptions of gender, stems from understanding what the adults surrounding her do not - that what purportedly defines a "boy" or a "girl" is arbitrary, without sensible foundation, and therefore simply nonessential. Bernstein provides little evidence that Nora simply wanted to be a boy, or become a man, as Nora consistently exhibits, in Bernstein's account, that she has little to no understanding of what a boy is, what a man is, or what being either or neither could possibly entail. Nora's expression and articulations of her own gender identity depict a decidedly queer sensibility - one that she makes no attempt to define, apart from the rigid definitions already provided for and ascribed to her by adults. She may not know what binary genders are, but her joy in observing what queering binary gender performances does allows her to see beyond those binaries - and even beyond androgyny. Does this mean that Nora's gender theory is post-gender?:

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I think it's more complicated than that. But, Nora does have an undisciplined relationship to gender which threatens binary gender constructs. Perhaps I'm stepping in a slightly different direction all of a sudden, but what about the surprisingly blunt and mature conversation that Nora has with her father, Daniel, who encourages undisciplined gender expressions, presents a threat to the innocence of children?:

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Bernstein's approach to (trans)parenting presents a pretty radical queering of gender-discipline, despite what I've read as a reinforcement of gender binaries, in that Bernstein's account of Nora's gender performance does not really present an anarchic (postgender) configuration of gender, but rather very simple facts about a false dichotomy: | , which is determined (arbitrarily?) by genitals:

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Day 17: November 22

Today we begin talking about our sole book for the course: Sara Ahmed's The Promise of Happiness. Before we get into that discussion, a few announcements:

  • Check out my post with info about the blog folder, upcoming due dates, and the remix/revisit/redux DE assignment. 
  • No class on Thursday--Thanksgiving
  • Any questions or comments?
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Who is Sara Ahmed? Visit her faculty page at Goldsmiths, University of London. You can read her research profile, research interests and publications. Here's a blurb about The Promise of Happiness:

The Promise of Happiness (2010) considers how we are directed toward certain objects by the promise of happiness, such that we "happen" upon those things that are already attributed as happiness causes. In this book, I explore how the freedom to pursue "whatever" makes us happy is directive: we are free to pursue this "whatever" on condition that it causes happiness, which as a condition involves an implicit demand that we make certain choices. Drawing on feminist, queer and anti-racist "unhappy archives," as archives that are assembled out of the struggle against happiness, the book considers happiness by taking up those who enter its history as "wretches", "killjoys" and "affect aliens." It analyses how one history of happiness is the history of the removal of the hap from happiness, and calls not only for "the freedom to be unhappy," but for a politics that puts the "hap" back into happiness.
Now, onto The Promise of Happiness. There are many different ways to approach the feminist killjoy (and how it connects with our discussions this semester). Here are just a few:

Shift attention from "what is happiness?" to "What does happiness do?"

THE HAPPY HOUSEWIFE: How does the "happy housewife" function on mommy blogs? Check out these google searches: mommy blogs happy and happy housewife blogs 
Here's what Ahmed has to say about this type of blogging:

On the internet, we witness a new generation of bloggers who take on this identity of 'the happy housewife.' These bloggers use the opportunity of the public space generated by new technologies to make public their claim of happiness (53). 

Ahmed doesn't devote much time to social media and happiness. Does the myth of this "happy housewife" get reinforced on i or other forms of social media? If so, how?

BEING HAPPY IN THE RIGHT WAY:
Key claim: "the very hope for happiness means we get directed in specific ways, as happiness is assumed to follow from some life choices and not others" (54). What life choices are supposed to lead to happiness and which are not? Who gets to decide what leads to happiness and how are those decisions made?

The face of happiness, at least in this description, looks rather like the face of privilege. Rather than assuming happiness is simply found in "happy persons," we can consider how claims to happiness make certain forms of personhood valuable (11). 

Promoting happiness promotes certain ways of living (over others) and certain types of families (11). 

"Ideas of happiness involve social as well as moral distinctions insofar as they rest on ideas of who is worthy as well as capable of being happy 'in the right way'" (13). What conclusions can we draw about what happiness is from this commercial (check out the comments on youtube too)? Is this happiness in the "right way"? 

 

SOME GOALS FOR AHMED: 

  1. Suspending belief that happiness is a good thing. "This book proceeds by suspending belief that happiness is a good thing [note: not by rejecting but suspending belief]. In this mode of suspension, we can consider not only what makes happiness good but how happiness participates in making things good....My task is to think about how feelings make some things and not others good" (13). 
  2. Tracking the word happiness: "In order to consider how happiness makes things good, I track the word happiness, asking what histories are evoked by the mobility of this word. I follow the word happiness around" (14). 
  3. Exploring the happiness archive: "a set of ideas, thoughts, narratives, images, impressions about what is happiness" (15). 
  4. Asking questions about happiness and its history/histories: "what does it mean to think of happiness as having a history? How or why should we write such a history? Who or what would belong in this history" (16)?
  5. Rewriting history from the point of view of the wretch: "I thus offer an alternative history of happiness not simply by offering different readings of its intellectual history but by considering those who are banished from it, or who enter this history only as troublemakers, dissenters, killers of joy" (17). 
  6. Giving the killjoy a voice: "This book is an attempt to give the killjoy back [their] voice and to speak from recognition of how it feels to inhabit that place" (20). 
  7. Not spreading unhappiness but making room for other ways of living/imaging life: "I know that I risk overemphasizing the problems with happiness by presenting happiness as a problem. It is a risk that I am willing to take. If this book kills joy, then it does what it says we should do. To kill joy...is to open a life, to make room for life, to make room for possibility, for chance. My aim in this book is to make room" (20). 

TROUBLEMAKERS:

Going along with this duty [to make parents/others happy] can mean simply approximating the signs of being happy--passing as happy--in order to keep things in the right place. Feminist genealogies can be described as genealogies of women who not only do not place their hopes for happiness in the right things but who speak out about their unhappiness with the very obligation to be made happy by such things. The history of feminism is thus a history of making trouble...by refusing to follow other people's goods, or by refusing to make others happy (60).

Happiness shapes what coheres as a world (2).

AT THE DINNER TABLE: 

While I am not sure that we would consider Debbie Downer a feminist killjoy, Ahmed's discussion about the polite politics at the dinner table reminded me of the SNL skit (with Rachel Dratch) in which Debbie Downer "ruins" Thanksgiving dinner for her family. What isn't "right"/goes wrong in this family dinner? Does Debbie Downer simply kill the joy of the others or does she read that joy from the perspective of the "wretched"?

Here is a (just) slightly different version of what Ahmed writes on page 61:
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What do we make of this clip? How does humor function in this skit? What kind of killjoy is Debbie Downer? Is she a feminist one--or some other type? Can we envision her killing of joy as ever being productive or leading to transformation? Or is it (too) easy to dismiss? How can we read this second Thanksgiving scene beside/against/through the first one (Publix commercial)?

Here's another humorous clip that envisions the woman (is she a feminist killjoy?) killing the joy at a dinner party by speaking her mind and thinking too much:

 

Is she a feminist killjoy? Consider the following passages in relation to the video clip:

We might explore how imagination [being curious and thinking critically] is what allows women to be liberated from happiness and the narrowness of its horizons (62).
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But if we do not operate in this economy--that is, if we do not assume that happiness is what is good--then we can read the link between female imagination and unhappiness differently. We might explore how imagination is what allows women to be liberated from happiness and the narrowness of horizons. We might want the girls to read the books that enable them to be overwhelmed with grief (62). 

We can talk about being angry black women or feminist killjoys; we can claim those figures back; we can talk about those conversations we have had at dinner tables or in seminars or meetings; we can laugh in recognition of the familiarity of inhabiting that place. There is solidarity in recognizing our alienation from happiness, even if we do not inhabit the same place (as we do not). There can even be joy in killing joy. And kill joy, we must and we do (87). 

FYI: I have written about these ideas in several different blog entries. Check them out:
  • on Debbie Downer and unhappiness in relation to grief here
  • on Ahmed and the feminist killjoy here 
  • on Ahmed and the feminist killjoy for class discussion here


Want to study abroad?

Check out this great opportunity to travel to Europe with Anne Phibbs, Director of the GLBTA Programs Office, to examine the social history of homosexuality, as well as GLBT identity and community in Amsterdam and Berlin. Sarah Tschida from the Learning Abroad Center will be in class today to tell us more about it. 

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Arondekar Diablog Wrap-Up

Our group discussed the work of Arondekar called "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive" and also put it in discussion with the "Interrogating Complicities: Postcolonial, Queer, and the Threat of the Normative" conference held on our campus. The piece itself along with the papers read aloud by their authors at the conference were all quite advanced critical engagements with postcolonialism and queer theory, though some were more accessible then others.

The following quote is taken from one of Ava's response on our open thread, and, in lay terms, describes one of the facets of the argument poised by Arondekar:
"There are always many structures operating as to what is documented in any time and space, and limits to what can be known or inferred from their 'discovery' as well as infinite ways certain lives and ideas will ever be able to be documented or theorized. So the point is exactly that to track 'queer history' presents a lot of problems, one of which is why something of the sort would ever be documented or recorded, and thus 'discovered' and how sexuality is dealt with in any particular time and place."

A particular quote from the reading that engendered discussion was the following:
"We may trap ourselves in the need of a history to sanction our existence" (16). Ava suggests that this could be taken as "a warning against having too much of a personal attachment and stake in looking to what has already been to help understand our various identities and validate our experiences". Honeybump0515 extrapolated to say that "If there is that need for constant validation from the past then there is no real way for there to be growth".

The subject of the archive as a valid source for information, and validation of the queering of these narratives also arose.
The following quotation from Arondekar describes this relationship and perhaps why it can be problematic:
"The process of "queering" pasts has been realized through corrective reformulations of "suppressed" or misread colonial materials. These reformulations have intervened decisively in colonial historiography, not only decentering the idea of a coherent and desirable imperial archive but also forcing us to rethink colonial methodologies. Implicit in this rethinking, however, is the assumption that the archive, in all its multiple articulations, is still the source of knowledge about the colonial past. The inclusion of oral histories, ethnographic data, popular culture, and performances may have fractures traditional definitions of the archive (and for the better), but the teleos of knowledge production is still deemed approachable through what one finds, if only one can think of more capacious ways to look" (11).
Are there other "valid" sources of knowledge about human sexuality? What does a queer theory look like that doesn't centralize sexuality?

Are we all agents of neocolonialism?

For the most part, the diablog experience went well. As previously mentioned, the material was very dense and, at times, difficult to work through. Having a base in feminist thought and theory helped to process and engage with the material presented, along with exposure to texts that discuss the narrative of histories...Edward Said's "Orientalism" comes to mind. I was interested in the subject and was happy to make attempts, both successful and of failure, to understand and interpret the material. I feel that after all this engagement and analysis, the idea that most resonates with me is that objectivity is subject to interpretation.

DE #3: Engaging with Ahmed

Sara Ahmed's, The Promise of Happiness

I have been sooooo excited all semester to read this book! I decided to write on our most recent reading because we will be discussing it this week and I have almost finished the whole book (thanx Sara for making me wait all semester!)

The pursuit of happiness has always struck me as such a tedious chore. Because we are always looking to an end result, something in the future that will insure our happiness. We rarely hear people say, "this is the happiest I will ever be!" Instead, they assume happiness will come, but is rarely so satisfying in the present. Everyone chases it, everyone wants it- but what are we searching and why are we taught to base our happiness off a certain grid of things that we are culturally taught make people happy? Ahmed states, "the very hope for happiness means we get directed in certain ways, as happiness is assumed to follow from some life choices and not others". Sometimes, what makes us happy doesn't make others happy and thus we alter our happiness to ensure someone else is happy. Take parents for example, I have many friends that have not followed their goals because it would "shock" and "disappoint" their parents too much. Even though it matters to them, causing their parents that sort of unhappiness is too unsettling to bear, and thus "not worth it".

Why do we gage our happiness off of others? If someone else makes us happy, shouldn't we just let it go, and turn within to continue to make ourselves happy? Nah... that would probably be too easy. We need something to blame, or something that was the cause of our happiness or unhappiness.

"Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness". ~Robertson Davies

I decided to look up quotes on being happy and the only quote I could find that somewhat resembled the idea that happiness is not a necessity, and that there can actually be joy in not having joy was the above quote by Robertson Davies. He made me think about and relate to Ahmed in saying that there are questions to be asked and things to be learned because of one's unhappiness.

What is the relationship to feminism and happiness? Aren't feminists typically killers of joy, or as Ahmed calls them "the killjoy"? Why isn't it appropriate to bring something up that might bring someone else's happiness down even if it's valid and worth thinking about or wondering about?

Another thing that struck me when reading Ahmed is how she distinguishes the binary of grief and happiness. I thought back to the things I've learned about Buddhism, about how everything has an opposite that must be in order for the other to also be. Happiness/Suffering, good/bad, sick/healthy... all of these things need to be balanced and one cannot know one without the other. I used to have a friend who told me one time "Lauryn, everything is perfect as is. Even when it seems like nothing is right, you are always exactly where you need to be and feeling the things you need to feel". This hit home with me. Happiness and grief are all a part of it. I couldn't really truly appreciate being happy if I didn't have extremely weak moments in my life that caused me a lot of grief, pain, and suffering. This type of balancing act that my friend Liam taught me, showed me that Ahmed is right in that there is something to be said about not being happy, something to be learned, and that is okay.

Unhappy queers and feminist killjoys teach us something about happiness and teach us how happiness is structured around certain things and excludes others. There is something to be learned by the "unhappiness" project. By examining the what's why's and how's of happiness, we can understand how happiness can be used to conform us to certain ideals that have been set in place in our world. Happiness, as she discusses, is sometimes used as a "moral" crux to insinuate that certain people are not happy, or one shouldn't be happy if they are a certain way. We are taught to obey certain rules as a "common good" so that others will be happier.

In terms of passing, I found the concept of "passing as happy" to be very interesting. We encourage people to "fake it until they make it" or "put on a happy face" as to not make others uncomfortable with one's unhappiness. Why is happiness made so necessary? And why are we taught to keep quiet sometimes to insure that somebody else's happiness is not compromised.

All of these questions are so interesting to me! I really find this book beautifully written and full of engaging questions and ways of thinking. Troubling happiness...


direct engagement three, transparenting

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In "Transparent," Susan David Bernstein relates some of her experiences of parenting a child who has what seems to be a firm grasp on the performative nature of gender. Nora, the author's daughter, is described as having "gender bending episodes" and "mixed gender expressions," characterizations that seem to try to isolate the various performances of gender to separate incidents. These, in tandem with the author's question: "Does gender at seven have much of anything to say about sexual identity at seventeen?", connect to our in-class discussions of eroticized children and the futurity of the child. In Nora's mom's mind, Nora isn't expressing an assured and fully-felt self; instead, she's experimenting. And tied to this is Nora's mom's assumption that Nora isn't yet sexual, as a seven-year-old. That, she believes, doesn't happen until Nora is 17. Nora's mom/the author seeks to delay and separate gender and sexuality. Gender can be recognized and expressed as a young child, but there is something innocent and less serious about a youthful "experimental" gender expression; the author's anxiety is focused instead on the future child, the 17-year-old, who is assumed to be sexualized. The young child and the future teen are separate entities, not variations on the same person and theme, not continuous and fluid.

I really enjoyed reading this article, mostly because its anecdotal style was so easy and breezy to read, but also because the mother/author and daughter/subject relationship made "transparenting" immediate and very personalized. But what I was really impressed with and intrigued by was Nora's understanding of gender. Her mom tells stories about her that exhibit her intellect, her tact, her sense of humor, and her keen understanding of others' reactions to gender non-conformity as well as what conforming to gender stereotypes looks like. Nora is one smart and intuitive kid. But her mom, the author, struggles with this savvy. The fluctuations from toplessness and being a "tomboy" as a little kid, to going to high school dances looking a little bit tarty seem to fill her mom with anxiety about what it all means. What isn't really discussed, however, is Nora's take on it all. Sure, we get little snippets of her thoughts from her mom, but Nora is painted as having license over her gender and bodily expression, but there's a lot more of the author's thoughts and anxieties in the article than there is a conversation between mother and daughter. Nora seems to know what she's doing, but she's not given the opportunity to speak to that knowledge. How does this connect to Kincaid, and the unknowingness of children? And what is at stake in the author's future vision of her daughter/child?

rethinking kinship & space as i track intimacy

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Roque Ramírez, Horacio N. "Borderlands, Diasporas, Transnational Crossings: Teaching LGBT Latina and Latino Histories." OAH Magazine of History. March (2006). 39-42.

In this article, Roque Ramírez outlines how concepts such as the border, the borderlands, diasporas (among LGBT Latino/a and Chicano/a communities), need to be reconsidered and re-imagined. He specifically questions how different bodies experience diaspora, the borderlands, crossing the border, and self-identification (based on nation and gender and sexuality identity, as well) differently. I thought that this article opened up new possibilities for tracking intimacy.

First, by calling into question the idea of space. Thinking about the borderlands as an ambiguous and ambivalent space changes the way I imagine and understand self-identification practices within that space. Because how does one create a fixed or stable identity in a fluctuating space? How does one imagine any sort of more complex and more fluid identity in a fluctuating space? And how does this affect one's sense of intimacy, kinship, and connection with the people and space around them? And the borderlands between Mexico and the United States is certainly a place of uncertainty; those who inhabit it are also subject to it and its vibes.
Secondly, this article and its discussion of the borderlands brings up the question of coalition within this space. How are groups of people differently affected by an uncertain and "unstable" space such as the borderlands, particularly those whose gender, sexuality, politics and nationality appear "different"? And how do these groups make coalition, communicate, and facilitate intimacy?

This brings me to: Mind If I Call You Sir Dir. Mary Guzmán. 2004. In this documentary, we are party to pretty intimate moments shared by the interviewees, who are self-identified Chicana butch lesbians and FTM transgendered men. The interviewees discuss their personal histories and experiences with self-identification and negotiation, which in itself creates a sense of intimacy between the audience and the interviewee. But at one point the various interviewees all sat down at a round table discussion and talked out some concerns and issues and preconceived notions that they'd had about each other. This, I think, exemplified a forging of intimacy between groups of people and among individuals.

This, in turn, brings me to my final source:
Rodríguez, Richard T. Afterword: Making Queer Familia. Next of kin: the family in Chicano/a cultural politics. By Rodríguez. Duke University Press, 2009. 167-176. Print/Web.

This article pretty nicely ties into the two above sources with its discussion of kinship, which is described as "not a 'list of biological relatives' but rather 'a system of categories and statuses that often contradict actual genetic relationships'" (167). How can kinship be re-imagined in the context of Latino/a-Chicano/a and other histories and experiences? And how does it fit within the LGBTQ experiences?

Rodríguez also discusses the complexities of the border, arguing that, "Latino social space is evolving and developing new forms, many of them contributing to an emergent Latino consciousness and social and political development" (171).

"Diaspora space" is
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He argues that the ambiguity of what is "diaspora space" (and, I would argue, the borderlands) enables and invites questioning of what is permitted and prohibited. And with this questioning also comes the possibility of and need for what he calls "queer familia": the re-thinking of kinship ties, relationships, hierarchies, and intimacy.

Some important announcements about assignments

Remember that your blog folders are now due Thursday, December 2. All assignments due on or before that date (check schedule or blog worksheet for due dates) must be handed in at that time to receive full credit. This means that any past assignments from throughout the semester will be accepted next Thursday (but not after). Also note that I have extended to due date for assignments originally due on 11/22 (DE #3, tweet source, your choice comment). These are also due on the Thursday after Thanksgiving (12.2).

For this hand-in, please print out the blog worksheet and hand it in at the beginning of class time (or turn in the hard copy that you already have been using). You can either hand in your comments and tweets or send them as a word document.

As a reminder, here are other upcoming due dates for rest of the semester:

December 
  • 2 Annotated Bibliography #3 
  • 6 Remix/Redux/Revisit, Queer This! comment #3, Query Response #3, Your choice comment #2, Your Choice tweets 1/2/3 
  • 14 Reading Engagement Comment #2
Here's some information about the Remix/Redux/Revisit blog entry: The purpose of this entry is to revisit an entry, reading, or topic from early in the semester and to critically reflect on how your perspective has shifted (or been reinforced) during the course of the semester. Here's how:
  • Pick a reading, one of your past entries or a one of my class summaries from the first half of the semester (up until 10/19-10/21).
  • Write up a 1-2 sentence summary of your thoughts from that time.Then, critically reflect on how your thinking about the reading, the topic of your entry, or the topic of that class discussion has shifted (or how it has stayed the same--or been reinforced).
  • As part of this critical reflection, make sure to offer up some of your thoughts on whether or not it is helpful to revisit past entries--is this a benefit of blogging? Is it helpful/not helpful to have access to all your/our past ideas? Are my class summaries helpful in clarifying the concepts (or complicating them in productive ways)? 



DE - Unnatural Predators

In Robert Azzarello's article, Unnatural Predators: Queer Theory Meets Environmental Studies in Bram Stoker's Dracula, he discusses about sexuality in relation to queer studies as well as environmental studies. Azzarello does a great job in giving a brief description about what queer studies is and how sexuality in reference to queer studies is based upon social construction and can be found in every aspect of life. When he brings up environmental studies and how it can relate to queer studies, he draws upon excerpts from Bram Stoker's Dracula and analyzes two characters from the novel that are possibly good examples of what is defined as natural and unnatural.

I enjoyed how Azzarello approached this issue of what is considered natural and unnatural, especially in the era that we live in right now. His main focus is about defining the two terms and connecting it to society's construction of natural and unnatural, with great examples from Dracula. He brings up very good points about Queer studies and how it is constantly trying to fight against the naturalization of a heteronormative culture, and yet by doing so it is also creating another environment in which it is denaturalizing what should be natural. This is where Azzarello brings in environmental studies, because it arose due to "a political intervention into a university system that largely ignored urgent political questions being raised by activists outside the academy" (Azzarello, 138). I feel that this quote best describes what environmental studies is and what it does for our society. It is quite similar to queer studies, and is trying to raise awareness that we as individuals are playing a very important role in the effects of nature. When Azzarello describes Dr. Seward and Renfield, he brings up the idea of what is natural and who is doing what to be defined as the "normal" human being. Although Renfield is a human being, his acts are very much like an animal and with Dr. Seward observing him also poses a big question about what is being performed as natural. Is it natural for Renfield to be creating an animal food chain and participating in it? Or is it natural for Dr. Seward to hold Renfield as a patient and observe him?

This article brought up very good questions about what is natural and unnatural in the context of queer studies and environmental studies. I feel like what is in our nature is no longer existing within ourselves because we have been conditioned to not engage in any animalistic instincts. I do not understand how and when we started to change ourselves from animals to human beings because I think that if we were to still be the way we were a few thousands of years ago, it would be a very interesting world that we would be living in. To define ourselves as "human beings" and not "animals" also makes me think that there is a power relationship there because it is almost as if we see ourselves as higher in status to animals. If Dracula were really alive today, and he decided to turn everyone into a vampire, would we be on the same level as animals because we are no longer humans?

Mash Up

I had an interestingly relaxing afternoon looking back through everything on our website and blog. Before this course, I had never purposefully pondered or thought about what is queer(ing). I've had some trouble this semester fitting my own queer lens into focus. Looking back over everything today made me realize that I am learning and I am digging deeper into my own meaning of what queer(ing) is. I'm definitely not as advanced as some in my definition or understanding of queer(ing) - but it's very slowly developing. As I've only been diving into this subject for a few months.

First, I wanted to discuss Chromeswan's direct engagement on Julie Rak's article "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity". I remember this was one of the first articles I read for class, and I don't remember that I completely comprehended it. Reading over Chromeswan's direct engagement made me think back to that first article and how I perceive it differently now since my lens has evolved. In online spaces you can choose to be anonymous, or to expose your identity. Identity not just being your name, but your sexuality, race, opinions, desires, strengths and weaknesses, etc. Internet blogs and sites give people voices they might not have without the online world. I view queering online a bit differently than queering face to face. Sometimes physical personal interactions with others only give you so much time to explain or present yourself. The online world is different, you can write as much (or as little) as you want people to know - online spaces may give readers more time to relate and understand to who you are or who you're developing to be.

Mary Gray's article "From Websites to Walmart" deals with internet services as well as face-to-face interactions within the community. The internet here is seen as a way to connect with others in order to be understood and find others to associate with. I believe queering very well can incorporate the internet, but facial interactions are needed as well. This article opens the reader's eyes to the difference in queering in a rural area versus an urban area. Urban areas would be thought to many to be an easier place to form connections because the population is greater and people live closer to each other. In rural areas, you may not have a neighbor for miles down the road, connections may be harder to make in a community of few spread out people. Internet here forms the gap and helps rural GLBT's be able to communicate online as well as form community meeting spaces and gatherings.

Next, I'd like to bring up Briana's Queer This! about greeting cards and the "queer lens" we're developing through this course and our lifestyles. I never would have thought to use my "queer lens" in the card section as Target - so I'm very glad she brought this to my attention! Her Queer This! is so true. Cards sold in stores are truly made for the heterosexual community. It's very helpful for me to be exposed to others' experiences/thoughts such as Briana's. Briana's post about greeting cards helped me to realize that I need to find a way to be more aware of such obvious situations.

Lastly, honeybump0515's video post of "No Homo" - was very humorous to me while making a lot of sense. I appreciate that post and am glad I took the time to watch it. The video made valid points. I think "lil wayne" started this craze; I hear d the phrase first in his 'music'. I love the point the video made; does he feel so insecure - that he may appear homosexual that he needs to make his sexuality of no homo clear. To me this video does a great job of queering a common phrase. It's almost as if this person created this video for our Queer This! assignment. This video was entertaining in the way that it made fun of this non-educated phrase.

Query Response #2

callakerqueerytweet.jpg

Thinking in another direction, as I often do, to the extent that we've engaged in class with queer critiques of marriage discourse we've left similar playing and queering of the terms of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) relatively untouched. So has anyone else seen what another one of my idols, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, has to say about the reification of U.S. militarism, racism, and nationalism that we can see in "mainstream GLBT" funding-funneling to counter DADT?



http://tinyurl.com/MattildaReDADT

It's clear that Mattilda opens some really rich veins to mine, right? I'm especially interested in how Mattilda brings this discussion also back to its relationship to media spectacles of queer youth suicide, as in these two sound bites:

What the fight against DADT is telling our queer youth, they're saying, "Well, don't kill yourselves now. Wait, and you can enlist in the military and go abroad and kill and terrorize people of color all over the world." So, that is not a social justice struggle.

...and later...

We shouldn't be telling queer teens, "Oh, when you grow up, you can become part of the same system that's destroying not only your life, but the lives of everyone in the world."

Zing! I mean, Mattilda's certainly not afraid to be blunt. I haven't seen anyone else put this so succinctly-- if we're concerned with critiquing homonormativity and condemning homonationalism and can make the connection to marriage and complicity in violent systems of sexism, racism, etc. then we should certainly bring the same consciousness to deconstructing other mainstreams of U.S. GLBT activism. The former quote from Mattilda also makes me wonder if it is strategic here to draw a distinction between GLBT activism broadly speaking and social justice movements which center liberation in the form of self determination. As Mattilda says, "that is not a social justice struggle," referring to a fight for GLBT "rights" which only squashes the lives of another Other.

Comment for Public Bathrooms Post:

So the blog isn't letting me comment and I've been trying for four days and I don't want this comment to be any more late than it already is:


I just want to say that I'm glad you wrote about this because it's never occurred to me that it's an issue (I gain a new perspective every day because of this class).

I don't necessarily think that stores, the government, society, whatever, was intentionally trying to alienate people by creating men/women bathrooms, but rather it was a latent function that has yet to be adressed by most. I think THAT'S where the problem lies- the fact that our solution to people's discomfort over sharing a bathroom with the opposite sex didn't work but instead furthered discomfort for a large group of people... and now that we know, no one's really doing much to fix it.
I think the other problem is that the majority of the population doesn't even see this as a problem, not because they don't care about equal rights, but because it doesn't even occur to them. Which is due partly to ignorance, and partly to the lack of information and exposure of the difficulties for the people who don't conform to the popular idea of gender.

Mashin' Up the Queer

WHAT IS QUEERING?

To me queering/queerness/and queer represents a way to look at things through a non-normative lens. A lens that challenges dominant ideologies and forms of heteronormativity. It troubles and calls into question the notion of "comfortable". My all time favorite quote so far of the semester is Haraway's, "queer functions variously as an interpellating gesture that calls on them to resist, reclaim, invent oppose, defy, make trouble for, open up, enrich, facilitate, disturb, produce, undermine, expose, make visible, critique, reveal, more eyond, transgress, subvert, unsettle, challenge, celebrate, interrogate, counter, provoke and rebel." In my opinion, this is ultimately what Queer/Queerness/Queering mean. To be a troublemaker!

When engaging with The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity by Julie Rak, she discusses how online media can be used as a space to think about "queer identity, electronic identity, and liberal discourses of identity based on individual agency, unity, and the primacy of individual experiences important to many in the Western world". Here, blogging can be used as a method of creating queer communities and ways of showing the world that Queer is also Normal. I think since online media is inherently unstable, it can be called Queer in itself. Blogs are used to "write oneself into existance for others to read and comment on". Online media, to me, is Queer in itself, so Queerness online can be further complicated and almost pushed to the limits of normative. Pullen also points out that "we are living in a world where the discursive potential of an "imagined gay community" seems vividly real through online interactivity and identity affirmations". The web can be used as a queer space to share stories and lifestyles that are REAL and normal to the people that live them and blog about them.

Although online access comes with certain privileges, it is one way in which people can use Queerness to find a sense of community, or a online space, that verifies their lived experiences and existance.

Another space where Queerness can be examined is pedegogy. Queerness within classrooms. This class in itself is a type of Queer pedegogy in that it's not a normal structure (tests, class structure, papers, and a strict teacher to student relationship). Luhmann suggests that, "a Queer pedagogy exceeds the incorporation of queer content into curricula and the worry over finding teaching strategies that make this content more palatable to students". So what does a Queer classroom look like? OUR CLASSROOM! This class is definitely the most queer form of curriculum I've ever taken part in, regardless of it being a GWSS/GLBT course. It's interactive, we can comment on our peers work, we are forced to be assertive and engaging, and taught to think outside the normative lens of curriculum.

So, what is queer then?

A few Luhmann quotes:

Queer, as a term, signals not only the disruption of the binary of heterosexual normalcy on the one hand and homosexual defiance on the other, but desires "to bring the hetero/homo opposition to the point of collapse".

Queer aims to spoil and transgress coherent (and essential) gender configurations and the desire for a neat arrangement of dichotomous sexual and gendered difference, central to both heterosexual and homosexual identities... queer theory insists on the complications of the two: without gender, sexuality is nothing".


I think Queering's main job is to undo the "normal" to undo normal categories, or categories we would consider normal. Haraway, in Queering the Non/Human states, "queer comes to signify the continual unhinging of certainties and the systematic disturbing of the familiar". I like the word "disturbing" here. I think Queer engages with the in between spaces to unpack binaries and give a voice to the silences that we build these things around.

Thinking to Sara's interest in troubling and complicating things, I think about Queer in terms of troubling the familiar, take for granted, categories that we understand as intelligible and static. Queer's project is to trouble what makes us comfortable, and to ask the questions about why these things are taught to be uncomfortable in the first place.

Queer This! I wanted to analyze honeybumps1505 Queer This! "No Homo" YouTube video. This video has really stuck in my head a lot. I always think about how people throw around the term gay by saying things like "that's so Gay" as if Gay is something that's lame or ridiculous? Because gay is something "uncomfortable" for some and most popular culture, we have a stake in Queering the Queer. Does that cancel it out? Then maybe it's normative? Nah, popular culture teaches us to be uncomfortable with the ideas of Queer. Thus, Queer projects seek to answer questions about why we are made uncomfortable by things.

moviesofmyself's direct engagement: movies of myself asks: "I'm reminded that "For every 'livable life' and 'grievable death,' there are a litany of unmentionable, unassimilable Others melting into the pace of the nonhuman" (Giffney and Hird, 3). In what different ways is death functioning here? How does death work differently for subjects who embody, even celebrate, non-normativity, transgression, unintelligibility? How does this factor into our vision of a queer future-- who will live and die, and how will their histories be recorded? Is a queer future still concerned with our queer pasts?"

I saw some really interesting questions and parallels here. What does a Queer future mean? What about Queer time? Is that like "hippy time" as my friends call it, meaning you show up whenever because time really doesn't have a meaning? In thinking about Queerness and the future of queerness, what do we have to gain from the project of Queering? In my opinion a queer future is dependant on a queer past. I think the project itself has changed and will continue to change (that's what makes it queer- it's unstableness) and in order to ensure a queer future the project of Queering and troubling the current dominant ideologies (at whatever point in time) is necessary to insure a queer future.

I am pretty sure, thanks to this class, that queering is now my favorite project!

Mash Up: What is queer/ing?

Preface

When asked by my partner to help succinctly define the functions of queer theory, I totally floundered; I could only provide partial and open glimpses of what it does, very broadly speaking. It is inspired by that conversation as well as jaropenerkate's post "an interconnected mash up" that I present:


Queer/ing Vignettes

If not montage, then vignette feels a most appropriate mode of temporality to employ for adventures in pondering the meaning of queer/ing. This departure declares interrogation of the viewer/reader as its central self-reflexive queer/ing project. When better to start, then, than with thoughts derived from working through and playing with (riffing on, if you will) Edelman's variations on reproductive futurity and Muñoz in the opening to Cruising Utopia?

If (both) past unrecoverable and/or still not yet, then what will it take for us to be(come) queer? If not through the waif or her enclave, might we become queer through recourse to the horrors of queer youth suicides, or to the positive light of queer youth survival, or to queers raising children, or to raising queer children, or making normativity visible? How do all of these intertwine and diverge as negotiations of queer politics? Is there an impossible queer future for us yet? If not thwarted by the grim prospects of white heteronormative reproductive futurity, then what will this future look and feel like? Do queers need future or do they need to come to terms with death?


I'm reminded that "For every 'livable life' and 'grievable death,' there are a litany of unmentionable, unassimilable Others melting into the pace of the nonhuman" (Giffney and Hird, 3). In what different ways is death functioning here? How does death work differently for subjects who embody, even celebrate, non-normativity, transgression, unintelligibility? How does this factor into our vision of a queer future-- who will live and die, and how will their histories be recorded? Is a queer future still concerned with our queer pasts?



"Can we provide a queer analysis of the image on the poster?" (Nosecage)

In the film Gendernauts, one figure [a transman] questions the idea of being filmed shaving his face, in summary asking something to the effect of "Why the focus on shaving as part of my daily routine? Why not a video of me brushing my teeth?" Why not the queer act of brushing one's teeth?

In other words, why not focus on some or another "revolting" act of a queer mouth? Why not (be) revolt(ing)? As Mattilda shows with the collection That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, there are a multitude of ways to queer using one's mouth, words, and glitter and by resisting the well-known isms [class, sex, race, gender...] that bind us.



Edelman, Lee. "The Future is Kid Stuff."
Giffney, Noreen and Myra Hird. "Queering the non/human."
jaropenerkate. "an interconnected mash up."
Muñoz, José. "Introduction: Feeling Utopia." Cruising Utopia.
Nosecage. "Queer This! #2: Bare."
Sycamore, Mattilda Bernstein. That's Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation.
Treut, Monika. Gendernauts.

Annot. #3- Feministic BDSM

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For my third annotated bib. regarding radical sex practices I've decided to query a feminist view/take on BDSM. My sources are Judith Halberstam's "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy," "BDSM and Feminism" article/posting by Bea Amor and another conversation I had with my friend (P) who is into the BDSM lifestyle. I got Halberstam's article from our class blog and I got Amor's posting while typing in "BDSM and feminism" on Google while sitting at my laptop. I had another follow up conversation about BDSM with P when I decided to get a feminism look on BDSM after she read an email she received from an anti-SM individual. They all tie together because all three sources deal with feminism and Halberstam's article touches on the issue of "subculture" having a masculine overtone and BDSM is, indeed, a subculture that many people believe to be a culture dominated by men which is not entirely true.


My friend P read me a letter she had received a few weeks ago while we were at her computer from an angry feminist whom wrote that P's "support in the domination of females was despicable" and that she "should be ashamed and disgraced" that she's "selling out her own kind." P has received several emails like this and she said that she's learned to just shrug them off instead of reply because it just gets uglier. I asked her what her view on BDSM and feminism is and what she told me surprised me very much. She said "The 'dominant' is NEVER in control, but actually is constantly taking the 'submissive's' feelings into consideration. The job of a 'dominant' is to push the 'submissive's' envelope of comfort, but never to upset them or cause true harm. Outsiders (aka: society) don't understand this and think that 'dominants' are pushy/bitchy people and 'submissives' are weak/like to be hurt people. So even if a woman is being 'submissive' she is in control of how far things go. Also, there are large numbers of 'dominants' who are women so to say that BDSM suppresses women simply isn't true." How do you feel about this idea of a woman who practices BDSM as a 'submissive' and a 'dominate'? Do you think that she's still "selling out her own kind?" Are women really being suppressed in the BDSM lifestyle? A book worth reading is Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Power & A World Without Rape. I've read it and it is extremely interesting.

storyimage_yesmeansyeswebjpg_thumbs_600x900_thumbs_200x300.jpeg

While searching on Google I found an article titled "

BDSM and Feminism.

" by Bea Amor that shows a personal opinion on BDSM and feminism. Bea states a good point about feminism in the first paragraph, she says, "To me feminism is the ideal of granting a woman the right to choose whatever life she chooses to live. If I choose to be a slave to a man, then that means I am living that dream and executing my choice. Does it matter that my choice does not reflect the choices of women interested in running corporations? In fact, I might even be one of those women. I might be a high-powered executive that runs my department with an iron will. There is no way to spot me when I am working. I do not have the word slave written on my forehead. I might have it written elsewhere, but then you wouldn't know that either, would you?" She points out a very interesting concept to think of. Do you think society views women in BDSM simply as housewives? Do you agree with her definition of feminism? Do you think she's weakening herself by being a slave to man when it is her choice?

Lastly, I got Halberstam's article Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy from our blog. Her article touches on the issue of tomboyism and the 'bondage' that society places on women to be feminine. What I got from the article is that punk and tomboyism is a rebellion against what society expects of them and what I'm wondering is if BDSM is also a form of rebellion in some way, shape or form. Society places the expectations of purity and virginity on women so is BDSM a way of rebellion against those standards? Do any of you think that BDSM could be feministic? The more I research this topic the more I think it's a subculture run more by women then by men and it gives them the FREEDOM to do what they really want and the CONTROL as to how far things go. Something to check out is

Willy/Milly When I Was A Teenage Boy .

movie that Halberstem notes at the end of her article. I bought it on Amazon and it's really interesting.

Queer this: NiqaBitch

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In response to France's ban on the burqa, or niqab, two women, one of whom is Muslim, started a small web-activist operation called NiqaBitch.

They explain the purpose of NiqaBitch here, but it's entirely in French, so here is a very rough translation. In addition, here are a couple of responses from the Guardian and The Daily Femme. You can even follow NiqaBitch on twitter.

DE #3

DE #3
I am confused how Halberstam points out that Poly Styrene of X-Ray Specs has braces and that symbolizes her "injunction on girls having to be pretty and nice, sugar and spice". Did this woman actually state that that is why she has braces or is Halberstam just observing and inferring that? To me, I would think that her braces would indicate that she is straightening out her teeth to look more normative and pretty. This is the exact opposite of what Halberstam says she is rebelling against. I also disagree with her statement that we "hesitate to cultivate female masculinity in young girls". I think that girls are socially pressured to be feminine but on the other hand we still hear statements such as "you throw like a girl" indicating that a girl should throw like an athlete, an athlete meaning male. We teach young girls that anything masculine means good. At least that is what I have seen first hand. I have noticed this in the business world as well. All things female are considered weak and sensitive while men are tough, powerful and worthy. Halberstam also states that punk was her outlet for her outrage against femininity and her desire to continue being a tomboy. Punk gave her a voice for her dissatisfaction when she had no vocabulary. I can see her valid point that punk provided means to make sense of difference. But how big can a movement get before it is no longer rebellious punk music and it becomes popular music? Ask Kurt Cobain. He was our paradoxical king of rebellion. I think that rebellion is something that we all have inside of us. When we hear a song that we like we use that artist's outrage to cling to because we feel that it is our only outlet in a sea of conformity. One song written by a struggling person trying to find their own voice is now on the radio out there in the world for everyone to take into their lives. It no longer becomes the artist's song. By putting yourself and your music out there you are giving it to the masses to do what they will with. I think that rebellion is just as eternal as love and that we all have it in us. What are everyone's thoughts? Was that just a ridiculous rant or did that make sense?

Loving in the War Years

The title of this entry is also the title of Cherrie Moraga's book.
It's subtitled, "lo que nunca pasó por sus labios."

She writes:
One does not pass through the university system unchanged. It is the intellectual factory of Corporate America, whose intention is to educate us to be law-abiding consumer-citizens. More insidiously, the university functions to separate us from the people of our origins, which in effect neutralizes whatever potential impact our education might have on them. The university allows a benign liberalism, even a healthy degree of radical transgressive thought, as long as it remains just that: thought translated into the conceptual knowledge of the dominant class to be consumed by the academics of the dominant class, and as such rendered useless to the rest of us.

If the study of insurrection must occur within the conceptual framework and economic constraints of the patrón-university--e.g., tenure tracking, corporate-funded grants and fellowships, publishing requirements, etc.-- insurrection can never be fully conceived and certainly never realized. Lessons and strategies for sedition can be partially garnered from the texts from the texts made available at the university, but our most defiant thoughts--those profoundly intuitive insights, those flights of unrestrained imagination--generated through life's lessons and remembered history can never be fully explored or expressed in their original tongue at the university. By the time we have succeeded in translating "revolution" to adhere to appropriate academic standards, it ceases to be revolutionary (173, her emphasis).

She quotes Audre Lorde as well, saying, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" (173).

I wanna respond to these quotes, but I also want to hear what you all have to say, so you first!

Mash Up-- What what? Only 2-ish days late.

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(yeah, thats totally a link. click it. yeah. do it.)

I think that queering can definitely be related to the ideas of power, normative ideology, body image, and in a way, innocence.
Firstly, Cohen does a great job in explaining how power works in a "queering" sense. Her articulation of how queering and politics can relate to eachother really gave me the jumping off point I needed to play the mash up game today. Cohen says "I envision a politics where one's relation to power, and not some homogenized identity, is privileged in determining one's political comrades... if any radical potential is to be found in the idea of queerness and the practice of queer politics, it would seem to be located in its ability to create a space in opposition to dominant norms, a space where transformational political work can begin." But this makes me think... How does one queer politics? How does one queer power? When I think of queering power, I think of how power situations begin, especially in a patriarchal society. The answer to that is Family. Kincaid does a great deal of work in the ideas of queering children and how children are expected to be pure and innocent. He talks about how we remain powerful over children and their sexual identities by silencing them in situations of sexual crisis, like molestation. The political system, legislation and courts alike are supposed to protect the "innocence of children." But how is that to be if innocence and sexual purity are not especially inherent in children but are instead projected onto them by adult fantasies.
Speaking of adult fantasies... Kincaid's article got me thinking about how women are really expected to be children, that is childlike. Innocent, pure, smooth skinned, youthful, and quiet. This reminds me of the Queer this post of the Ralph Lauren ad featuring the ridiculously skinny women. Her waist was of a childlike size, and her skin was smooth. She appeared to be very young. Her body was the center of the image, and the eyes are drawn to it in lieu of the face. It is a very oppressive image in my mind. This, to me relates back to Cohen's discussions of power and how it can be queered.
It is not unusual for people in positions of power (politicians, adults, parents, men... what have you) to silence or try to silence those in opposition to it (women, children, constituents... etc). Those who queer power are those who react to this oppression with steadfastness and courage.
A lot of what we talk about in class has to do with oppression of women, homosexuals, transgender folks, and bisexuals. Sometimes we touch on race, but it isn't very often. I would like to change this pattern. When we talk about power and patriarchy like Kincaid and Cohen do it is important to read between the lines and expand the principles to other kinds of societal issues. The issues of racial stratification in our society are truly disheartening. I think that is what is at the heart of some of the arguments discussed by Cohen and Kincaid, how these principles apply to all people.
In Cookiekidd's Direct engagement with Richard Thompson Ford's article, he talks about what is queer about race. Since race is directly connected to power, i found this engagement fitting. CookieKidd said something that really excited me in this engagement, "Being queer is not about one's identity but rather how one chooses to live their lives by challenging mainstream society's social and ideological construction of race and gender." This to me really helped solidify what I'm trying to mash up... this is really feeling like mashed up bananas coming out of my head at this point, lots and lots of blogging today. However, his engagement with this article has a lot to do with interracial homosexual relationships and how they function to queer both race and heterosexual and heteronormative relationships. He says, "His article dealt with a lot of analyzing into race and social identity construction and how queer theory to him played an important role in challenging these views. It's almost as if he refers to himself as queer theory itself, and yet by him choosing to marry his partner, he is also choosing to obtain a part of what heterosexuals views as sacred and "normal"." This is extremely relevant, especially because a lot of what I study is how race is socially constructed, and i try to apply that ideology to how sexuality is a social construct in society too. Kincaid, Cohen and Ford have all helped me form this argument, Race is formed to maintain power heirarchies between whites and non-whites in society, just like sexual norms and identifications are formed to maintain heteronormative power structures and patriarchy.

Ok I feel like I'm rambling. Thats all I have.

Queery Response # 2-- Super Late, as per usual.

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Campusgirl23: Query: Should facebook offer the option to describe one's sex/gender instead of just checking a male/female box? #@qued2010 1:13 PM Sep 28th via web

My response:
Heck yes they should.
But, there are many changes that need to be made along those lines. Yes, yes, yes and hell yes people should be able to describe their gender, sexual preferences in the like any way they choose and should definitely not be confined checking a box.
By that same token, people should be allowed to describe their race, ethnicity, or other cultural identities in any way they seem fit. They should not simply be relegated to whichever box they are provided.
Social media, along with other forms of media is extremely heteronormative, but luckily the internet is a very fluid medium and changes are easily made. I wonder what can be done to make this change?

Heteronormativity in the media is the reason for the grouping of these three articles in this particular blog entry. My last entry focused on heteronormativity in schools, but I feel that how the topic affects mediated programs and situations deserves some queering of its own. Mediated support for heteronormativity is an example of institutionalized discrimination, which is something that cannot be tolerated. As a future media professional, I take these kinds of lessons to heart. I chose this specific subset to study because I'm interested in making a change.

The Cult of Heteronormativity
by: "J" on Imagine Today
This article is really helpful in the way of providing information about how heteronormativity is not only present in the media, but it is comparable to the experiences of African Americans and other "people of color" in the media. The author details how it is not simply the absence of homosexual characters on TV shows that is harmful and heteronormative, but it is the stereotypical roles which these characters play which can be especially troubling.
"This issue extends far beyond the media, however; it seeps into our daily lives, be it conciously or subconsciously. By adopting a heternormative outlook on life we cast a whole group of people into the category of "other" which is deeply upsetting and highly problematic.
The author leads into how it creates larger problems for society, and later into ways which this problem can be combated in main stream media. It was interesting to read this, especially because the author identifies and a white, heterosexual female.
The article leads to this article in the Huffington Post for further information.
I found this source in a google search, because I'm a college student and I'm addicted to google. I probably would be lost like a little puppy without it. But, nevertheless I googled "heteronormativity in the media" and there it was!
Formal Citation:
J. "The Cult of Heteronormativity « Imagine Today." Imagine Today. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. .

A Lesbian in the Punditry
Hey, PS i found it on the U of M library searching deal, you will need to sign in with your x500. More detailed citation info to follow.
By: Jennifer Reed
This article praises Rachel Maddow for being a popular and powerful media presence while being a publicly "out" lesbian. Reed praises Maddow for being a voice for homosexuals in news media, and actively combating heteronormativity on television. "Maddow is part of a new generation of public lesbians for whom there is no apology, no underplaying, no dodging the question. As a representative of this new subject position in American popular culture, the persona of Rachel Maddow is, while not postgay, exemplary of a new public lesbian, and of the complex renegotiation of meanings that goes with it."
However, the author also reminds us that while Maddow has made some great advances, she is still forced to dress in what the author describes as "female drag" in order to be a publicly acceptable lesbian, while this is not how she prefers to dress. The author touches on the issue of how one thing can change, having a lesbian on tv in a powerful position, yet some things don't, like how she is forced to dress a certain way and look a certain way to be deemed respectable.
"Her television appearances, first as a guest commentator on MSNBC, and then on her own show, saw her put on drag as a woman in the look she continues to this day on her television show. It is a look that she herself makes fun of--saying in one interview that she has to be made up to look like an "assistant principal" to appear on television. Comments like that, combined with the fact that when she makes other public appearances (not hosting The Rachel Maddow Show) she looks like her butch lesbian self, create an important distance from the homonormative image that looks exactly like the effort to cover up the lesbian that it is."
It is an interesting critique on how successes can be shallow victories and really moving at the same time.
I found this source on a U of M library search for articles about Heteronormativity in the Media. It's the place to go for scholarly research :)
Formal Citation
Reed, Jennifer 'A Lesbian in the Punditry', Journal of Lesbian Studies, 14:1, 108 - 118


The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO's The Wire
By: Hillary Robbie
Robbie outlines how "The Wire" makes significant progress in the homosexual relationships between African Americans in how they are depicted in the media. She talks about Omar, a kind of "gangster Robin Hood" and how he is extremely masculine, and really badass, and gay. He challenges the dominant homosexual male stereotype and the dominant African American male stereotype by being a strong masculine man who maintains monogamous relationships throughout the show.
"While the black gay man seems recently to have become a key figure of crisis that, at present, threaten the very foundations of institutionalized culture in the United States, this should not be taken to mean that his representations have not functioned to buttress (often specifically by challenging) normative conceptions of race, sexuality, and gender identity since at least the Black Power era of the late 1960s."
She also comments on how the lesbian relationship between two African American women challenge the oversexualized images of African American women in the media. They also are not portrayed as some kind of voyeuristic pleasure for the audience but as a genuine relationship and how it unfolds between two lovers.
I found this source on a google search, of course. Oh how I love the blog-o-sphere. Something I've learned in this class. :)
Formal Citation
Robbie, Hillary. "The Subversion of Heteronormative Assumptions in HBO's The Wire | Darkmatter Journal." Home | Darkmatter Journal. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. .

DE #3

I find it really interesting that Halberstam states that "punk" is viewed as a male dominated subculture and that females who partook in the punk scene were viewed simply as girlfriends or fans instead of participants. I for one haven't really looked at a female with a punk style and thought, "Oh, she's just a girlfriend of a real punk kid." To me if you dress accordingly and proclaim yourself as such then that's part of what you are. No matter if you're male or female. Maybe my thought process is different though and punk is actually viewed as a male subculture. Something I'd also really like to point out is the quote, "Furthermore, excessively feminine little girls are also harmed by the generalization of the tomboy label, because when tomboy becomes a normative standard, they look pathologically bound by their femininity to weakness and passivity." When do you think tomboyism will become a normative standard? Or has it already become normative? Do you really think that more feminine girls would be harmed by this? The only way I can see this as being harmful to them is if the parents themselves said something to the child to make them feel inferior. Bulling could also be an issue but I've worked at a day care center before and I've seen a few boys come to the day care on Halloween dressed as female super-heros and none of the other kids made fun of them but when the other parents saw they were disgusted by it. Also, since tomboyism still has expectations of growing to be feminine why would it matter that other girls are feminine at the moment when it expected of them to be feminine as an adult? Why should all little girls be expected to change from childhood to adulthood?

Mash Up

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My mash up examines the meaning of "queer" by engaging with readings and materials from our blog that deal with the social construction of gender beginning in childhood. I have chose readings from Sedgwick's "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay", Bernstein's "Transparent", Smilelotsplz's engagement with Luhmann and Dani's Gay Kingdom queer this. I have chosen these particular items because they all related in the idea that gender and everything that comes along with it is engrained in each and every one of us from the moment we enter this world.
I will start with Dani's Queer this from the Tyra Banks show and her episode "Gay Kingdom", so we are starting from the end product and moving to the beginning. I just want to start by saying that it was tough watching such a silly display stereotypical behavior. I understand that they are on television and are encouraged to over exaggerate themselves (I'm not sure if that is technically a valid phrase) but seriously? I digress; here is a list of the participants as they are labeled on the show:
-Michael: Masculine gay man
-Michael: Feminine gay man
-Sam: Dominant lesbian
-Kayden: Lipstick lesbian
-Sasha: Transgender woman
-Hedda Lettuce: Drag queen
-Jason: Bisexual
Needless to say we have here a representative from several sub groups within the GLBTQ community. What was interesting to me were the individual beliefs and stereotypes they held about each other and oddly enough themselves. Kayden kept referring to herself as a "straight lesbian", which I tool to mean that she was a cis-gendered female who was sexually attracted to other cis-gendered females. Hedda Lettuce was quick to bring attention to the use of those terms, expressing discomfort about the derogatory implications in calling herself straight. Watching the clip made me realize just how conditioned we are when it comes to our individual genders. Each member displayed and expressed certain characteristics that made them either male or female. In addition, they also added adjectives that helped us as viewers to categorize them more easily. What is it about our bodies and the way we represent ourselves that make it so necessary to choose categories and boxes that we can fit into? I liked this example because it demonstrated, over dramatically I might add, what the end product turns out to be when we are socialized in a way that insists that there are two genders and anyone that deviates from either must be re-categorized in order for us to understand, and more importantly rank them on our scale of importance within our society.
I want to move on to Sedgwick's essay, "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys" and Bernstein's "Transparent". Both articles discuss raising children but from two very different viewpoints. Sedgwick's article examines our societal need to raise our little boys to grow into masculine men. Throughout the article we are introduced to the idea of Revisionist Analysis and ways in which we can ensure our boys turn into the masculine entities they are meant to be. We learn that there are good gays and then there are others. Those men that do not fit into the aforementioned category of "good" were most likely coddled by overprotective mothers and allowed to express themselves in way that in not conducive to growing up healthy. Bernstein's article is much different. In it she speaks of her experience as the parent of a gender non-conforming child. She discusses her feelings of protectiveness of her daughter Nora growing up in a world that is not comfortable with gender fluidity. She recounts stories of Nora being perceived by strangers as a little boy because of her haircut. Without the normal gender markers Nora was often automatically perceived as a male. The social constructs that are in place make it very difficult for children to express themselves in whatever manner they choose. In addition, for a parent, having to choose between allowing your child to express themselves in ways that are comfortable for them and being concerned for how they will be perceived by society must be a challenge as well. This to me is the meaning of queer, fluidity and struggle. Blurring the lines and breaking through boundaries that have been set, in order to change the way we think. This is about dispelling myths through social change, allowing children the freedom without judgment to experiment with gender and different ways of expressing themselves. If this became the mainstream way of thinking I believe we would not have any need for shows like the above mentioned Tyra show "Gay Kingdom". There would be no need for social experiments that do nothing but perpetuate ridiculous stereotypes and misperceptions. The two articles are such polar opposites, however, they are both perfect examples of the ways in which we police children and stifle their creativity and natural queerness.
This brings me to my source which is Smilelotsplz's Direct engagement with Luhmann's piece on Queer Pedagogy. It was a great engagement with the material and ties in perfectly with the idea of acknowledging that something is troubling then doing something to change it. In the engagement Smilelotsplz states, "I have always seen this desire not to know as a form of resistance in terms of not having to respond to whatever it is we do not wish to know. In not knowing we do not feel the desire to change things or act differently towards them. We can just claim ignorance, when really it is our desire to not be informed. We don't want to know that bad things are happening or acknowledge the realities of the world because then we would feel obligated to do something". This is such a great point, as soon as we start to acknowledge that something is in fact a problem we can begin to make changes toward a solution. It is no longer a matter of sitting idly by while we as humans are being forced to conform to norms that take away our individuality. To summarize, to me, queer is changing the way we present and perceive in our everyday lives. I believe it starts with a child and cultivating their curiosity and playfulness with their expression. In doing so we can shatter the oppressing boxes that we are expected to fit in when we reach adulthood. Well there you have it folks, my mash up. I hope I was convincing in conveying my idea of what queer is.

Open Thread Discussion: Arondekar

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This space is to be used to respond to group members' engagements, and further engage with Anjali Arondekar's "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive", and to also bring into discussion the Interrogating Complicities: Postcolonial, Queer, and the Threat of the Normative Conference.

Feel free to engage along with our group!

Mash-sh-sh Up-p-p-ah.

For my Mash-Up I'm using the Queer This from happytreefriends that had the youtube clip, Confessions of a Hipster; nosecage's Direct Engagement on Halberstam, and Halberstam's and Sedgwick's essays.

First I want to kind of summarize Halberstam's piece, "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy." She basically just talks about how there are two common forms of gender that girls conform to: really girly or the typical tomboy. The latter has an inevitable queerness about it and as a girl gets older there's the idea that she'll probably get teased for being such a "guy." I know that as I grew up I was definitely pressured by my peers to abandon some of my interests because they were "for boys." The other thing that Halberstam brings up is the idea of "androgyny" and I definitely don't believe that having both qualities of female/male genders makes you "androgynous." But in the case of children, it's difficult for growing minds to grasp the concept of "gender" and how many different "gender's" are out there. I think that children tend to be very judgmental and, in my case, it definitely persuaded me to become more "girly." In Sedgwick's article, it talks about how gay and lesbian youth are picked on like no other, and I think this also has a lot to do with children trying to conform to the typical gender roles. No one likes to be picked on, and so I know that definitely has a lot to do with kids staying in the closet... I mean, duh.

As for nosecage's question, "How do we (as a society) view girls that 'grow out' of tomboyism and become much more feminine in adulthood?" I think that society kind of ignores the fact that a lot of girls were dissuaded by their peers to do the things that they actually wanted to even though they were "boy-ish."

On the flip side though, I think that some girls kind of recognize that they aren't necessarily happy being very girly and slowly go back to their "boyish" childhood selves. Again, in my case, I tried to be really girly in middle school and then about halfway through high school I realized that I just didn't like that... at all. So I slowly went back to doing things that are generally boy-ish... like laughing at stupid stuff, not being grossed out by bugs and dirt, and (my personal favorite) wearing flannel shirts that are way too big for me.

The flannel shirt thing is why I decided to tie in the Queer This from happytreefriends about the hipsters. Hipsters have a habit of wearing the big flannels (like the girl in the video) and I think it's interesting to note that hipsters in general tend to have the same interests regardless of gender: philosophy, flannel shirts, bikes, art, poetry... etc. All things that are traditionally associated with either males (flannel, dirt) or females (poetry). And yet, these things are "cool" and if you don't like them you aren't "hipster" and thus, not "cool." So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it seems like this (almost) new genre of stereotype is embracing the idea of mixing genders and things/interests that are associated with each gender. And to go even further, if you don't identify as "straight," you're even MORE cooler, as any "right" kind of hipster will tell you.

I just get really confused about the growing up process because I remember being a kid and the other kids making fun of my for being boyish and especially making fun of kids who were gay or seemingly gay. And now my peers talk about how "cool" it is to be gay. I think it's just crazy how much stress goes into the process just to get to a level where everyone is just ok with everyone else.

MaSh UP

For my mash-up I wanted to look back at the use of queer and action of queering race. Queering to me is the challenge of hegemonic standards. This challenge of placed "norms" could be shown through dress, words, sexuality, hygiene, gender, choice of music, and so many, many more. As mentioned in Kathy Cohen's article and brought to further attention by jaropenerkate, this category of queer/queering can even be somewhat limiting. Cohen mentions the actions people take to lead queer lives by searching,

"...for a new political direction and agenda, one that does not focus on integration into dominant structures but instead seeks to transform the basic fabric and hierarchies that allow systems of oppression to persist and operate efficiently"
(Cohen 90).

Cohen
continues by explaining that even this action of queering or identifying as queer is limiting and leaves out many stories, feelings, ideas, opinions, etc. Jaropenerkate furthers the limits within queerness by explaining what she appreciatively took from Cohen's article. Jaropenerkate says,

"Mostly, I just appreciated a further fleshing out of the terms 'queer,' 'queer theory,' 'heterosexuality,' 'heteronormativity,' and 'gay politics.' Her discussion of the term 'queer' as a potentially radical political category is informed by her experience as a woman activist of color. She recognizes that the danger in assuming the identity queer too readily and too easily could very quickly result in the erasure of particular lived experiences and points of view that come from differences in race, class, gender, etc. 'Queer' as a category, then, has both the danger of becoming a monolithic, stable label, slapped on any non-heterosexual person and potential to be effectively political if questioned and talked about."


I think this pigeonholing that is happening even within the queer community is important to note. This all-encompassing, freeing term can have limitations at times.


Jaropenerkate also provided a great example of what isn't queer in her Queer This! example by using a Rolling Stone Cover with the cast of Glee on it.Glee straight and light.jpg However, the whole cast isn't pictured and as jaropenerkate mentioned, "...only the lightest, straightest ones" are shown.

armyofsluggirls.jpg

"an army of slug girls," by Renee French -- obtained from the best blog on the internet
(think Halberstam's "bondage" and Edelman's "cult of the child")


My title for this mash-up is supposed to be an adorably witty combination of James Kincaid's "Producing Erotic Children," and two of Halberstam's essays, "Oh Bondage Up Yours!," and "What's that Smell?" (Is this an example of online cuteness?) The first two essays may already share an apparent connection: that being the subject of the child -- the subject-in-the-making, the "blank page." I allude to the latter essay because of Halberstam's discussion of queer subcultures, and how these subcultures are viewed by society at large as liminal spaces that the mature adult eventually grows (up) out of -- towards reproductive futurity. The queer adult, then, fails to fully form as a developed subject -- caught in arrested development, we see how queer life is a life delayed, a result of growing sideways rather than up.

In our discussion of Kincaid, we focused a lot on the idea of the child as a "blank page," that which is written upon, that which does not do the writing, or the storytelling:

I mention Willy Nesler because at this point he becomes invisible, silent and empty, a vacancy at the center of the story -- filled up and written on by his mother, and the process, and the nation's outrage, our own included. Willy Nesler becomes our principle citizen, the empty and violated child, whose story we need so badly we take it into ourselves. No one wants Willy Nesler testifying, taking on substance: the erotic child is mute, under our control. Once the accused is out of the way, and the child is rendered speechless and helpless, we can proceed to our usual business: the righteous, guilt-free constructions of violent pornographic fantasies about child sexuality [all emphasis mine]. (4) (please forgive the self-promotion, but anybody want to mash Willy Nesler as "principle citizen" and Todd Baxter's Owl Scouts?)

jaropenerkate provided us with a more than adequate engagement with Kincaid's piece, in which she juxtaposes these quotations in reverse order -- an interesting queering of time and space on top of it all:

Screen shot 2010-11-14 at 5.35.20 PM.png

What I like about the reverse ordering of Kincaid's points is that here we read our dilemma first -- is this our not having, our forbidden desire to fill the child's vacancy? Kincaid points to our "empty point of ignorance" (our = full adults), which jaropenerkate juxtaposes very nicely with Kincaid's interpretation of the production of the erotic child as empty, as "that which does not have."

Kincaid's above quoted (and here re-quoted for further emphasis) provocation, "Child molesting becomes the virus that nourishes us, that empty point of ignorance about which we are most knowing," may complement Kathryn Bond Stockton's discussion of William Blake's "The Little Black Boy," which jaropenerkate picks up in another of her engagements:

Screen shot 2010-11-14 at 5.36.38 PM.png

In this light, then, we see why the production of erotic children actually depends on a presumed whiteness. For whiteness speaks of innocence, of blankness; while blackness speaks of experience, of that which is already tainted. Stockton's child "queered by color" provides an interesting frame through which to approach jaropenerkate's questioning of Rolling Stone's decision to exclude queers and people of color in their promotion of Glee (--Oh my god, is Mary talking about Glee? -- NO! I am talking about race and sexuality in popular culture):

As jaropenerkate observes about the cover of this issue, "This cover for Rolling Stone doesn't show the whole glee club, only the lightest, straightest ones."Thumbnail image for theprettyshot.jpg

The spread pictured here features a few additional lovely white people, one -- the prissy boy scout on the far right -- who causes the presumably straight masculine dude from the cover to appear ambiguous in his sexual desires, and another one -- the masculine dude standing in the back -- who may or may not be racially ambiguous.

thefreadshot.jpg The picture on the right, adjacently, showcases the freaks: the androgynous lesbian (who is also on the cover, actually -- and, assuming from Kate's comment, is not a lesbian on the show -- but for the sake of my argument, I'm referring only to Lynch's public persona), the (dominatrix?) Asian girl, the nerdy cripple (who's apparently into kinky Asian chicks), and the loud, curvy Black girl. Critiquing the show or even this photo shoot is not my intention at all, I actually think that we might be able to queer this juxtaposition, which not only provides an interesting commentary on race, ability and sexuality in mass-produced pop-culture aesthetics, but does so (we can only assume by its blatancy) intentionally. All of the female "outcasts" in this image are suggestively posed in positions of power: pointing/whistleblowing, shouting, whipping.

In conversation with Kincaid and Stockton, then, we can see the significance of the cover's whiteness: the sprightly white adolescents being that vacant object of forbidden desire -- that blank page on which to write. The adults on the cover, likewise, maintain a certain youthful glow. What of the glowing white adults on the cover in relation to the glowing white, and coy, not-fully-adults -- unqueered by innocence, unqueered by color?

There was another question in jaropenerkate's Stockton engagement that I find useful to this discussion as well,

Screen shot 2010-11-14 at 5.39.24 PM.png

I like jaropenerkate's connection of death by queerness (death of reproductive futurity) with death by mental, physical, or any other perceived defect. Queer bodies represent a "death in the family" through their failure to cohere to reproductive mores. Likewise, persons with various disabilities may also cause a proverbial kink in the reproductive machine. How does Stockton's discussion of being "queered by innocence" or "queered by color" operate in relation to the Rolling Stone images? Can we see these images -- especially the one with all the freaky kids (queers?) -- as queering reproductive futurity?

Just briefly now, I wanted to add some Halberstam to the mix, for which Nosecage provides some helpful jumping off points:

Screen shot 2010-11-14 at 5.48.03 PM.png

Screen shot 2010-11-14 at 5.47.11 PM.png

To the question of growing out of tomboyism (growing up?), let's look at "the power of definition":

Frankie thinks that naming represents the power of definition, and name changing confers the power to reimagine identity, place, relation, and even gender. "I wonder if it is against the law to change your name," says Frankie. "or add to it . . . Well I don't care . . . (195)

And denial of desire:

Psychoanalysis posits a crucial relationship between language and desire, such that language structures desire and expresses therefore both the fullness and the futility of human desire -- full because we always desire, futile because we are never satisfied.


Because she does not desire in conventional [reproductive] ways, Frankie seeks to avoid desire altogether. Her struggle with language, her attempts to remake herself through naming and to remake the world with a new order of being are ultimately heroic but unsuccessful. (195)

In other words, Frankie is a failure.

For more on masculine femininities, visit this blog. Also, be sure to enjoy these videos:


Oh Bondage Up Yours!


What's desire got to do with it, anyways? (interviews conducted by Del LaGrace Volcano)


Oh my genitals!


Diablog Arondekar

| 5 Comments

In Anjali Arondekar's "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive" there is a large discussion at hand about colonial historiography and sexuality studies. Throughout the article Arondekar presents cases of many researcher and their findings of the loose history of homosexuality. The main message after reading this article seems to be that many people, be them professors, researcher, or everyday people, crave the need to make a connection with themselves and the past. However, in having such a great need to do so in a sense takes away from what we are now.

Within Arondekar's article there were many things that causes questions to come to mind. One question that was stated within the article that caused me a lot of thought was "What kind of history does sexuality have?" Personally, I don't know much about sexuality's history, even less when it comes to the history of homosexuality. Other then the pop culture references and the few random facts about homosexuality within the ancient Greek culture, there isn't much that I can go off of. I understand the need to want to know more, wanting to connect with the past, however, with the little that is at hand how can people go about knowing this history?

Another thing that caught my attention was Robert Aldrich's quote, "..colonial homosexuality did not proclaim itself openly". If colonial homosexuality was never proclaimed openly, how can we track queer history? Having this element of underhandedness doesn't allow the information to be easily available to people today, which in turn just brings me back to my previous question. Along with Aldrich's quote, another statement had me being drawn back to the same question. "Scholars in disciplines ranging from literature and anthropology (the more favored locations) to law and science have held up the colonial archive as a storehouse of historical information that can reveal secrets about sexuality's past". Overall this statement I would like to discuss, I feel like there's a lot there and I would like to hear others input.

The quote from Shah sticks in my mind as well, "We may trap ourselves in the need of a history to sanction our existence." The final quote that sticks with me from this article is "homosexuality remains both obvious and elusive".

The need to connect with the past is strong for most people, however, Arondekar makes strong arguments within this article to believe that that connection is not as necessary as to be presented.

Mash Up Assignment

For this mash up, I chose to discuss the articles, "The Face Book Revolution" and "From Websites to Walmart," my Tyra Banks Queer This!, and RadioEdit's "Virtual Disruptions" direct engagement. Each of these examples all emphasize my own personal definition of queer, and that would be: curiosity and abstract identity. In other words, it's the idea of looking at or defining something or someone from an identity that is not seen popular by others and that uniquely expresses personal freedom.

"The Facebook Revolution" clearly demonstrated the idea of personal freedom and really allows an individual to extend their boundaries and thoughts to and about others without ever having to look at something/someone from one perspective. It's a form of communication that allows someone to get involved also with a variety of different interests and groups--a network that constantly engages the minds of its users.

"From Websites to Walmart" discusses the differences of coming out in a rural or urban environment and how someone would go about their coming out process based off of their upbringings and personal surroundings. This article covers just one of the many factors that go into the decision making process of disclosing your sexuality--but more profoundly...the opportunity to share with someone a personal and alternative form of life--this was the perfect example of an eye opener to the reader.

In my Tyra article, Mom Sues Tyra Banks After Teen Appears on Show, you had the girl who appeared on her show, the crew, and Tyra against the girl's mother saying that there was never any parental consent to let the minor be filmed on the episode. This could demonstrate queerness in the sense that perhaps minors are in fact capable of providing insightful answers about not only questions that are asked but facts about their own personal experiences and interactions with the world--an alternative viewpoint to observers who would expect to hear something ignorant and naive.

In RadioEdit's direct engagement of "Virtual Disruptions," RadioEdit, very concisely, address of all the main points to Threlkeld's argument of heteronormativity in schools. RadioEdit discusses how the concept of queer is viewed, not only in schools, but in the media, how it will be looked upon in the future and in general, how it is viewed in society. RadioEdit uses each of these mentioned components to formulate an opinion about how these heteronormative "standards" are affecting our youth and adolescent population today and sheds light on what a negative impact these societal counterparts will have on these individuals if something is not done to change the perceived identity.

Diablog Arondekar

| 2 Comments

In Anjali Arondekar's "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive" there is a large discussion at hand about colonial historiography and sexuality studies. Throughout the article Arondekar presents cases of many researcher and their findings of the loose history of homosexuality. The main message after reading this article seems to be that many people, be them professors, researcher, or everyday people, crave the need to make a connection with themselves and the past. However, in having such a great need to do so in a sense takes away from what we are now.

Within Arondekar's article there were many things that causes questions to come to mind. One question that was stated within the article that caused me a lot of thought was "What kind of history does sexuality have?" Personally, I don't know much about sexuality's history, even less when it comes to the history of homosexuality. Other then the pop culture references and the few random facts about homosexuality within the ancient Greek culture, there isn't much that I can go off of. I understand the need to want to know more, wanting to connect with the past, however, with the little that is at hand how can people go about knowing this history?

Another thing that caught my attention was Robert Aldrich's quote, "..colonial homosexuality did not proclaim itself openly". If colonial homosexuality was never proclaimed openly, how can we track queer history? Having this element of underhandedness doesn't allow the information to be easily available to people today, which in turn just brings me back to my previous question. Along with Aldrich's quote, another statement had me being drawn back to the same question. "Scholars in disciplines ranging from literature and anthropology (the more favored locations) to law and science have held up the colonial archive as a storehouse of historical information that can reveal secrets about sexuality's past". Overall this statement I would like to discuss, I feel like there's a lot there and I would like to hear others input.

The quote from Shah sticks in my mind as well, "We may trap ourselves in the need of a history to sanction our existence." The final quote that sticks with me from this article is "homosexuality remains both obvious and elusive".

The need to connect with the past is strong for most people, however, Arondekar makes strong arguments within this article to believe that that connection is not as necessary as to be presented.

DIABLOG: Anjali Arondekar

| 1 Comment

In "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive", Anjai Arondekar critically examines the motivations behind the desire and pursuit to 'recover' archival materials as well as asserting the clear limitations of any perception being bound and rooted socio-historically. So that while we as humans are curious as to old records that create a past narrative to reveal and affirm what is possible now (or ever), we fail to recognize that this 'archive' of 'recovered' materials/stories is still so absolutely totally ridiculously incomplete (impossible...yeah?). To look to the past for glimpses to confirm identities/behaviors/thoughts in the present can be useful, yet Arondekar articulates quite well some of the important considerations and limitations of doing so.

Some poignant quotes and questions from Arondekar that resonated with me and would like to bring into discussion (though by no means comprehensive of Arondekar's entire article) are:

*Colonial archive defined "as the register of epistemic arrangements"..., using Foucault's observation that "the idea of the archive animates all knowledge formations and is the structure that makes meaning manifest" (10).

*Derrida's "Archive fever" (10).

*Quoting historian Carolyn Steedman," You think, in the delirium: it was their dust that I breathed in" (which Arondekar explains is a reminder that "the material deposits of the past (dust, in her case), whose affective reach exceeds all forms of theorizations" and are the "real drama in archive fever) (11).

*"The process of "queering" pasts has been realized through corrective reformulations of "suppressed" or misread colonial materials. These reformulations have intervened decisively in colonial historiography, not only decentering the idea of a coherent and desirable imperial archive but also forcing us to rethink colonial methodologies. Implicit in this rethinking, however, is the assumption that the archive, in all its multiple articulations, is still the source of knowledge about the colonial past. The inclusion of oral histories, ethnographic data, popular culture, and performances may have fractured traditional definitions of the archive (and for the better), but the teleos of knowledge production is still deemed approachable through what one finds, if only one can think of more capacious ways to look" (11).

*"Parameters of space, time, and knowledge" as highlighted by David Halperin making the case for the role of "a historicism that would acknowledge the alterity of the past as well as the irreducible cultural and historical particularities of the present" (12)

*"Archival turns still cohere around a temporally ordered seduction of access, which stretches from the evidentiary promise of the past into the narrative possibilities of the future" (12).

*"The intellectual challenge here is to juxtapose productively the archive's fiction-effects (the archive as a system of representation) alongside its truth-effects (the archive as material with "real" consequences), as both agonistic and co-constitutive" (12).

*"While shifts in critical modes have occurred, the additive model of subalternity still persists, where even as the impossibility of recovery is articulated the desire to add, to fill in the gaps with voices of other unvoiced "subalterns," remains" (14).

*"Epistemology of the Closet": "Relies upon the maintenance within the epistemological system of the hidden, secret term, keeping all binaries intact" (taken from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick 16)

*"We may trap ourselves in the need of a history to sanction our existence" (says Nayan Shah 16).

*"Rethinking of the narrative of progress" (17).

*"Such an archival turn, I would suggest, requires a theory of reading that moves away from the notion that discovering an object will somehow lead to a formulation of subjectivity- from the presumption that if one finds a body, one can recover a person" (21).

*"The traveler wandering from town to town forgot
the path to his house. What was mine, what was yours, both
of the self and of the other, lost, then, to memory."
-Miraji, Tin rang (26)


*"Sexuality studies is an accomplice in such archival mythmaking and must remain alert to its own methodological and analytical foibles. Not to do so would be to forgo the histories of colonization, to brush aside the possibilities and impossibilities accorded by the idea of an archive" (27).

This post is a lot longer than intended, but I think the above for me lays out some of the more important pieces of Arondekar's article and gives you all a sense of what I'm focusing on and taking from it. What do we think about our drive to recover the past? Have you thought about the limitations of being able to interpret/perceive/uncover 'new' archival material given we are always socio-historically situated? Can we talk more about "epistemologies of the closet" please, and what this has to do with the points Arondekar is raising?

Diablog: What is history? Let's queer the Archive

What is history? According to the Oxford English Dictionary (which is a good resource for us U of M students...you are already paying for access to it. Much better then dictionary.com and the like), history is defined as the following:

1. [mass noun] the study of past events, particularly in human affairs: medieval European history.

• the past considered as a whole: letters that have changed the course of history.

2. the whole series of past events connected with a particular person or thing: the history of the Empire | a patient with a complicated medical history.

• an eventful past: the group has quite a history. • a past characterized by a particular thing: his family had a history of insanity.

3. a continuous, typically chronological, record of important or public events or of a particular trend or institution: a history of the labour movement.

I think a discussion around history can be a productive and interesting means to talk about Anjali Arondekar's piece, "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive".

European_Colonialism_1500_AD_to_2000.jpg

Let us start with the first definition. We tend to think of what qualifies as history as only pertinent to human affairs, neglecting our relationship as sentient beings with non/humans, environment, or the "other". How can our understanding of history and the historical change or become affected by a posthumanist perspective?

What does it mean to think of history as a narrative, a motivated story with purpose to be retold and reinscribed? Arondekar described studies of colonialism and the archive industry as being inspired in part by Subaltern Studies, which is critical of traditional focus on the elites who inspire the masses. Subaltern Studies approaches history from below, focusing on non-elites--subalterns, which can be thought of as any person or group of "inferior rank and station" based on given/perceived/self-identified social identities. Can history be empowering? How does looking at looking at history through the lenses of minorities problematize social hierarchical structures and elitist narratives?

The final provided definition of history purports history to be a continuous and chronological record. The archive then, is both a "system of representation" and "material with 'real' consequences". Standpoint theory acknowledges the subjective nature of our individual perspectives as relative temporally, geographically, and as affected by our social identities. History then is also herstory. It is a multiplicity of histories. It is relative and subjective. It is continuous yet never present.

In what ways can queering history be productive? What happens when we think beyond the terms and limits of empire? How can we queer the archive and archival process?

Queery Response #2

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Queery#2.png

I personally thinks that social network have the same potential for queer teens as they are offline of being bullied, since literally every teens or even everyone is involve in social network. I do think that the communities online can be equally abusive if not worst. This is because the bullies can choose to remain anonymous, and not take responsibility of what he or she have said. But words are powerful, it can really hurt one really bad even if it is from someone who one do not know. Online communities or network still behave like the real community, since they are make up from real people.

Arondekar Diablog

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Arondekar's article Without A Trace seems to state that sexuality's historiography has turned to the colonial archive to find evidence about homosexuality in the Indian national archives. Furthermore, Arondekar states that "Holden rightly suggests, "find the latter part of the nineteenth century a period of radical historical discontinuity." The late nineteenth century is the period that marks the intensification of imperial domains, territorial redistributions, and the rise of nationalist movements." Arondekar also writes that the 19th century also the period when the relationship of sexuality to knowledge and power is articulated and differentiated by homosexuality emerging as a set of identifications.

When Arondekar writes "The new material on homosexuality does not purport simply to "correct" and/or reveal the truth about the history of sexuality in the colonial period. While there might be a certain evangelical flavor to some of the scholarship, most of the work indicates that the authors are keenly aware of the shifting parameters of space, time, and knowledge and of the role of the archive in such entanglements" I wonder if there are any other parameters to consider when dealing with archives. For example, could the archiver (person recording events/documents) also add some mystery or biased information in relation to the decade/time period?

Also, Arondekar writes that a scholar names Shah uses the "coming out materials of his contemporaries" to analyze and critically think about past archives."Shah advocates strategics of historical research that derive from a differentiated language of loss and discovery. Shah must rely on the coming-out materials of his contemporaries (classic models of the logic of the secret) to think critically about the archives of the past." While I think it's a wonderful idea to use contemporaries to try to analyze past archives I think it might be 100% efficient and accurate. Each period has a different way of doing things and a different way of thinking so trying to use something contemporary to analyze sexuality in colonial archives would be very difficult due to time, space, and knowledge parameters.

Mash-up!

Focusing my mash-up on race and gender, I stumbled across honeybump0515's Queer This video clip of what the term "No Homo" meant. I tied this youtube clip in with two reading assignments from class, the first article by Richard Thompson Ford, What's Queer About Race? and the second article, How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys by Eve Sedgwick. This mash-up also uses reference from Nosecage's direct engagement with the Halberstam reading.

I will first discuss about honeybump0515's No Homo clip and explain my initial reaction to this clip. Upon viewing this clip I felt that the term "No Homo" was a little offensive to the GLBT community, however, I do understand that hip-hop has always been the one genre of music that has always pushed the boundaries of expression in terms of language and communication. Hip-hop does not thrive on conforming to mainstream society's expectations, but rather it has always tried to create a space in which the culture can be what we make it to be. I feel like the study of GLBT and queering desires, is very similar to what hip-hop has been doing all along. Although hip-hop has been viewed more negatively than in a more positive note, hip-hop has paved many paths for critical discourses and social justice movements. It is only due to the mainstream hip-hop that it is given a bad connotation. If one wants to take a deeper look into hip-hop and analyze how the language is used, one has to immerse themselves into the culture and actually go looking for the underground hip-hop music that is the foundation of true passion for social change.

In the article written by Richard Thompson Ford, he explores the extent to which race plays into the construction of identity within the mainstream society. He discusses about how we place certain individuals into their specific race due to their behaviors and mannerisms. This way of categorizing people without realizing it, can be harmful to how we function as a society. When relating this article back to the youtube clip posted by honeybump0515, we see that within the hip-hop culture alone, the male rap artists oftentimes describe their sexual experience with other men and by using the "No Homo" term, these masculine male rap artists are then automatically excused for doing whatever they want and not be viewed as gay. These male, African American rap artists tend to be seen as very masculine and viewed as rebels and by enacting these same sex interactions, it only glorifies their ability to attract the other males and yet still able to resist conforming into a gay man. Through their lyrics and influence on mainstream society, African American male rap artists have created a new level of qualified masculine identity.

In an article by Eve Sedgwick, her focus is on effeminate boys and how they may be diagnosed at an early age to have a gender identity disorder if they do not conform to their gendered roles. One quote that I thought was very interesting in this article was, "The reason effeminate boys turn out gay, according to this account, is that other men don't validate them as masculine" (Sedgwick, 143). I thought this was very interesting because it relates to one's identity only verified as a qualified identity if the consensus agrees upon it. It is almost as if the individual does not exist, unless they are seen through someone else's eyes and acknowledged. In relation to the "No Homo" clip, I find that it is hard to have an effeminate boy shunned from society because of their behavior, but to see how male rap artists play around with the masculine identity and use it to the extent that they do in their music, is very abhorring.

Nosecage posted up a direct engagement with Halberstam's article, and I found it to be very interesting. I liked how Nosecage highlighted a few of the main focus of Halberstam's article and how it relates to queering. Tying this into the rest of my mash-up I found that the construction of gender and identity in our society is very complicated and that one's identity is constantly influenced by one's social environment as well as how one views themselves in relation to their environment. Although the youth may not be punished for gender confusion or gender bending, in their adulthood they can become queer later on and this is where the challenges of gender and identity becomes very crucial. Overall, I found a lot of the readings and the online postings to be very beneficial to my understanding of how society constructs gender roles and identity in relation to race. I also understand that I am a part of society, and the actions I partake in can also be significant to how we define and understand what queering is.

Summary of Munoz Diablog

Our group diablog discussed the reading from Jose Esteban Munoz's article, Disidentifications. Although we did struggle on trying to grasp the understanding of Munoz's focus of the article, as well as the terms that were used in it, posting questions and comments on the blog was very beneficial to our group. Knowing that we all had our own questions and struggles with the reading, only proved to be more helpful for us to pose good group questions for class discussion. One main element of the class discussion was focused on the definition of disidentification and how it was used in the article. This brought up very different viewpoints of what disidentification could be and eventually we discovered that it tied into the disruption of what is considered "normal" or "heteronormative" and thus allowed a space for rejection and or resistance of the dominant public sphere. We had a chance to discuss about the difference between stereotypes and identity which was not mainly focused on disidentifying one's self from the dominant culture but to be able to distinguish the significance of these roles. It is necessary to have this counterculture, which can be a positive aspect of working with the identities-in-difference. Another focus of our discussion was on interpellation and how failure is a part of this counterculture. Not all failures are viewed as negative but can be a way of creating a study of different discourses. The overall class discussion on Munoz's article proved to be quite difficult to expand upon due to the lack of a strong connection and understanding of what the reading was trying to convey. There were many important aspects of the article that it was a challenge to try to discuss it as a whole. Although our group had some confusion with the article, we felt that the discussion with the class was very helpful.

general response

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In regards to our in class discussion, I would like to address the idea of failure. I think what Munoz was getting at and what I stressed in class is that failure is in the eye of the beholder. If you are failing to conform to heteronormative society then you are not necessarily failing in a negative way. What I am taking away from this reading is that if you fail to conform and disidentify with stereotypes and the majority in general you form an identity that is all your own. Identities are defined and created through comparisons and relations. Without a heteronormative society to rebel against and resist queer counterculture would altogether not exist because there would be nothing "queer" about disidentifying. However disidentifying is not only applicable to homosexual populations. The act itself is done by straight people too in regards to disidentifying with stereotypes. What are everyone's thoughts on disidentifying in a straight population? How is disidentifying different when being done in various populations?

Mash. It. Up.

For this mash up assignment, I am most interested in defining what it means to queer. The dictionary widget on my dashboard proposes this definition of the verb: "spoil or ruin (an agreement, event, or situation)." I think this begins to describe the working definition that I have been using in my work thus far. I have come to understand queering as the act of deconstructing/troubling/problematizing previously agreed-upon meanings/categories/constructs. The work of queering, as I understand it, seeks to determine the legitimacy and value of these socially-constructed and perpetuated ideologies used in academia and in every day life. (It's all about asking questions.)

During our "Queering the Non/Human" module, we read Robert Azzarello's "Unnatural Predators: Queer Theory Meets Environmental Studies in Bram Stoker's Dracula." While the piece was generally pretty confusing, I found the very last sentence to be very useful in furthering my understanding of the act of queering:

"Queer nature, by refusing the opposition between the natural and the unnatural, dramatizes its own ontological impossibility and asks us to consider alternative modes of representation, new constructions of humans, natures and sexualities, and unconventional ethical systems grounded in the indeterminate subjects of queer theory and environmental studies" (154).
So, what does this sentence really offer us? It pushes us to understand the tendency of categories (such as natural/unnatural) to be shifting and unfixed. It also suggest that queering would work to delegitimize binaristic models of constructing and understanding categories.

This theme of challenging the normal is exemplified in @cookiekidd's direct engagement with Richard Thompson Ford's article, "What's Queer About Race?" Her reading of the article speaks to how Ford was attempting to draw from queer theory in order to deconstruct race categories:

"He praises the significance of being queer and how it can also relate to race, because he is also in a interracial relationship with this partner. Being queer is not about one's identity but rather how one chooses to live their lives by challenging mainstream society's social and ideological construction of race and gender."
We see @cookiekidd examining the relationship (or lack thereof) between one's sexual desire and the act of queering. She suggests, through Ford, that queering is more about maintaing a philosophical standpoint that challenges normative understandings of race and gender (and sexuality, class, able body-ness, etc.).

This understanding of the concept of queering is applicable in daily/personal life, as exemplified above, but also in academia. During our discussing of queer pedagogy we read Nelson M. Rodriguez's chapter, "Queer Theory and the Discourse on Queer(ing) Heterosexuality: Pedagogical Considerations". Even in the title of the chapter, Rodriguez begins to define the act of queering, as a verb. He goes on to describe the roots of queer theory in this passage:

"...sitiuating queer theory within a broader constellation of intellectual movements--most notably poststructuralism and postmodernism--that significantly shaped its theoretical and political trajectories and made possible its emergence" (280).
Rodriguez points out here that queer theory has its roots in postmodernism and poststructuralism, both of which pushed intellectual thought away from understandings of the 'rational' and pre-determined, agreed-upon categories. He also hints at the multiple applications of queering, both in theoretical and political fields.

Now, let's put this definition of queering into practice with @Briana's Queer This! post, "'When you care enough to send the very best'.........?" @Briana, while perusing the greeting card section in a store, states that, "With my newly focused queer lens I realized how hetero the card selection is." This is queering in action. She goes on in her post to challenge Hallmark's slogan and deconstruct who it is aimed at and how it perpetuates heteronormativity. Only by viewing the section with her "queer lens" is she able to understand how the typical unassuming greeting card can be very harmful in upholding norms and, ultimately, can be a form of discrimination and oppression.

I'd like to end with my own list of words/phrases that I have come to associate with queering. I know that this is not an original approach to understanding queering, but I cannot for the life of me remember which article/author most prominently did this. I'm also sure that some of my words are on their list as well. I hope you will all be forgiving. Queering =

deconstructing, problematizing, questioning, disidentifying, challenging, troubling, critiquing, evaluating, closely reading, editing, delegitimizing, asking, researching, shaking-up, unsettling, breaking-down, examining...

an interconnected mash up

I start my Mash Up with the idea of connectedness, which @moviesofmyself describes beautifully in his Direct Engagement with JHalb:

"I tend to think, according to Buddhist teachings, that I was not born into this world but rather out of it. So while we may draw lines that say trees, clouds, or bodies are natural while sky scrapers, computers, or pollution are not-- I do believe that all existence is intricately connected and comes from the one energy of this world. I am deeply connected to all other forms of life because we all interare (see: interbeing), we do not existence individually but rather our lives (not just human) literally depend on one another. It is in thinking through these relations that I can see how the divide of human / non/human is dangerously troubling."

If we 'interare,' then the effort to distinguish ourselves as finite individuals seems like an impossible task. I'm getting the growing suspicion that queer theory (like @pinstin mentioned in class on 11/11) invests more in the process, rather the end result. So investing in the fluidity and points of connection between identities and entities seems more productive. Acknowledging that any one being or thing is somehow connected to us and to other things allows for a lot more space to perpetuate that connectedness. JHalb points to the transgressive and activist potential of questioning the divides between the human / non/human in "Animating Revolt/Revolting Animation: Penguin Love, Doll Sex and the Spectacle of the Queer Nonhuman" :

...(speaking of the "Pixavolt" movie Over the Hedge) "Ultimately, this children's feature offers more in the way of a vision of collective action than most independent films and critical theory put together, and the film's conclusion points to queer alliance, queer space and queer temporalities as the answers to the grim inevitability of reproductive futurity and suburban domesticity" (272).

Again, how does this potential for collective action reliant upon acknowledging our mutual connectedness? I think it's super-reliant upon it. Questioning how we organize, label, separate, come together, and perpetuate narratives of normalcy and heteronormativity are key to creating truly transgressive and activist activity. Even (or maybe especially) in the form of "children's" movies. To do so means to trouble the stable, to make our fellow people question themselves and their patterns, all in the name of shaking up monolithic assumptions like heterosexuality, sexuality, the mainstream, and anything else that gets named without questioning its dominance and whose power is strengthened in its invisibility (Butler, "A 'Bad Writer' Bites Back" 1999).

Cohen also asks us to trouble the divisions around which we as theorists, humans, activists, etc. organize and politicize ourselves. Specifically, she demands that we question the power given to the category of heterosexuality, and to question how the potential for radicalism is precluded from it. She writes, in "Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential for Queer Politics?":

"Much of the politics of queer activists has been structured around the dichotomy of straight versus everything else, assuming a monolithic experience of heterosexual privilege for all those identified publicly with heterosexuality...I am not suggesting that those involved in publicly identifiable heterosexual behavior do not receive political, economic, and social advantages, especially in comparison to the experiences of some lesbians, transgendered, gay, and bisexual individuals. But the equation linking identity and behavior to power is not as linear and clear as some queer theorists and activists would have us believe" (37, 40).

I think the troubling of linear thought and identification is also key to a recognition of our interbeing, as well as our potential radical action. Linearity seems tied to common sense, to knee-jerk logic, and to the perpetuation of problematic systems of thought, belief and power. Butler writes, "If common sense sometimes preserves the social status quo, and that status quo sometimes treats unjust social hierarchies as natural, it makes good sense on such occasions to find ways of challenging common sense. Language that takes up this challenge can help point the way to a more socially just world" (1999).

All that interbeing and connectedness stuff being said, what about "No homo" ?

(Thanks for honeybump0515 for the Queer This! video.)

Cohen writes "...Homophobia does not originate in our lack of full civil equality. Rather, homophobia arises from the nature and construction of the political, legal, economic, and sexual, racial, and family systems within which we live" (27).
I think her argument could be stretched to describe these systems as being too linear, too demarcated by unquestioned assumptions about normative and appropriate behavior, which results in rampant homophobia, which is clearly (and wittily) exemplified in this clip.

And finally, because it's on my mind a lot and is an overarching theme for our class, I wanna ask how is all of this implicated in the "It Gets Better" campaign? When homophobia and transphobia are everyday realities--like 'No Homo'--that get written off as just bullying, or just as the way things are, is this video campaign the best we can do? What is it doing? What isn't being said? What is being assumed about the future in these videos?

Query Response #2

Campusgirl23: Query: Should facebook offer the option to describe one's sex/gender instead of just checking a male/female box? #@qued2010 1:13 PM Sep 28th via web

I think that this whole section of facebook should be much more ambiguous. Not only should there be a better breakdown of sex and gender options, but people should also have the option to put nothing at all. What do you think? For example, I think people should be allowed to choose more than one gender or be able to mark exactly how they "feel/identify at a particular moment". An individual's personal identity/preferences can change throughout life. Also, what about those who are transitioning or those who choose not to have a full reassignment surgery and want their friends and family to be a part of this life-changing process? Shouldn't they be able to mark more than one sex? The options of sex and gender in humans is so incredibly fluid that our options to represent this fluidity should match.

P.S. To the class, sorry this is coming late. I have had the flu for the last three days :(.

my link didn't show up!

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Here's the video I meant to post in my comment on the Muñoz open thread.

It's Antony & the Johnsons, playing live. I figured it fit with the video theme of Tuesday. How do the lyrics connect to our discussion of utopia, the future, the child, optimism? How can we queer this (even more than it already is)?

Mash Up

For my Mash up assignment I decided to look back on my "Too Fat?" Queer this post and compare it to the perception of queer and beauty that social media's advertise and relate it to the definition of "queer/ing." The reason I decided to look back on this is because I showed my friend the advertisement on our blog and she was astounded that Ralph Lauren would even consider posting such a thing. Then my friends grandma walked by and inquired what we were looking at. She saw my entry as well as everyone elses and she was more astounded at the Queer entries as opposed to the one I posted. She said, and I quote, "This type of thing should not be seen, much less be heard of" (commenting on honeybump's Queer this!). Her comment got me thinking about how each generation "queers" certain images. After asking what my friend's grandma what her definition of "queer" is she responded with, "Any fag act, image, or thought," which I suppose would be some of the older generation's belief. But for myself and my friend, we think of queer/ing as a person's own personal happiness, so even heterosexuals are queer (in a sense) to us.
"The Facebook Revolution" article ties in with this queer this! through the notion that Facebook can alter/shape a person's definition of queering and thought process of queering others as well as themselves. My favorite statement of this article is in the introduction: "We do this because Facebook is an important social tool that enables uses to attempt to reflect to their friends who they believe themselves to be." I believe that not only does Facebook provide an outlet and sense of self, but it also adds to what "queer" is to each person. Each fan page, organization page, "like" page can alter and add to one's definition of queer/ing.
"From Websites to Walmart" is my favorite article and I just had to add it to this mash up because I wonder what small town individuals would be more shocked to see people walking down the aisles in drag, or if they would be more shocked to see someone even remotely resembling the woman in my queer this! post to be walking in the aisles. Mary Gray states that "I wanted to know what difference the internet made to youth negotiating a "queer" sense of sexuality and gender in the rural U.S. and the raced, classed, and gendered characteristics of those negotiations." I, myself, wonder how the internet impacts the ideas and thoughts how the youth "queer" images and people. I believe that since our own thoughts and beliefs are indeed shaped by those around us would the youth of today (in small towns) I wonder if would they find it more "queer" (with regards to their own definition of queer) to see a person in drag? Or an emaciated young woman with a head probably twice the size of her own waist?
Another students DE that I think ties in with all these sources is John's DE #2 "From Websites to Walmart":

By John on October 22, 2010 6:25 PM
I wanted to write about this article, because it was the one that really stood out most in our readings in latter September. I wanted to engage in the difference about being gay in a rural vs. a urban setting, or even if there was such a significant difference. I always had thought that if you knew you were gay in a very conservative area with traditional upbringings that your life would be extremely different than if you grew up in a big liberal city.I suppose this is what internally appears in someone's mind before they realize that once they choose to finally disclose of their sexuality--the fact of the matter is...if you're gay, you're gay, in spite of the location. And to just assume that online social networks are affiliated with those surrounded by millions of people in such populated areas is simply close-minded and stereotyping another stereotype. There are a plethora of resources, like these online networks and organizations that have attributed to these individuals to aid with their adversities in their coming out process. Nonetheless, gay individuals take a risk when they post private information in a public setting, some of which have lead to disparaging actions taken into account by family members and friends. It is sad that even today people try to make other people's business their own, when they should worry about their own lives instead of trying to ruin the lives of others.

John brings up an interesting point of being gay in a rural area vs. a big city. Is there any big different in it? Yes, if your gay then your gay, however if you live in a more rural area you might be less inclined to display/come out in which case your idea/definition of queer/ing might change. I mean, you can go on facebook all you would like and chat with other gay individuals all you want but in the end you might still hide part of yourself for fear of rejection of your family and friends. Also, I, myself, grew up in a rural area where GLBT wasn't as widely accepted and my family is filled with conservative Christians. For most of my teen years I hid the fact that I wasn't heterosexual and defined queer as"gay" and "gay" as sinful so essentially queer=sinful. Even after I came out to my family it still was a hush hush topic and I still had to hide who I really was. However, after moving to the cities I had a handful of new opportunities/ideas/beliefs and my definition of queer has now changed.

MashUP

Mashup Assignment
Queer This!
My roommate is in a class called the body and politics of representation. She informed me that a transgender individual came to speak for the class. He explained that he identifies with neither sex. We discussed what she learned from this presentation. This person speaking appears male and acts male and is attracted to women. He personally does not think that he is one gender by itself. He has a vagina and breasts but wears a wrap to hide his chest and has been taking hormones for years to increase testosterone levels in his body. When it came to dating he found that bisexual women were the most compatible with him. This is so because socially it appeared that a heterosexual woman was dating a physically seeming heterosexual male. This story raised some questions for me. This person chose to identify with a male persona publicly basically to make things easier in a heteronormative society although he does not feel either female or male by definition. Why does this person feel forced to pick one social construct or another? It appears that people have a problem with a person transitioning from one sex to the other but once the transition is complete it is accepted. Male and female bathrooms, marriage rights, gender specified products and fashions, etc. subliminally force our society to choose one side of the gender spectrum. It will be trouble for you if you choose neither. Queering in this speaker's situation is taking his attraction to women, his technical genitalia, and his decision to be recognized as male.
This Queer this directly ties into the reading by Munoz. This person disidentifies with both sexes. He has chosen to use the pronoun "he" to make things easier for the heteronormative culture. For example, me using "he" to start the last sentence is the precise reason for him choosing to do so. Judith Butler & Pecheux's idea of "bad subjects" resisting and attempting to reject images and identificatory sites offered by dominant ideology and counter-identifying with heteronormative society relates directly to what the individual discussed in my queer this does every day. He would qualify as a "bad subject" because he inwardly resists a label but outwardly he is a "good subject" since he chooses a path of identification socially.
I read the article about the 17 month old being beaten to death because he did not exhibit masculine qualities as a child. This poor kid lost his life because he did not conform to heteronormative expectations by his guardian, his mother's boyfriend. This child was too young to even know consciously what gender is, let alone which gender he is to conform to based on his genitalia. "The attack, and the apparent impulse behind it--that a violent man was made uncomfortable by a even a perceived variation on gender-normative behavior--is exactly what makes transgender and gender-variant Americans among the most vulnerable segment of the population, and children who even appear gender-variant are the most vulnerable of all." This quote exemplifies how stereotyping and even categorizing what personality traits go with which gender can lead to catastrophic effects when penalized for disidentifying or not conforming. Can this child be queered? Is there a way to say if this child would have turned out to be homosexual or heterosexual? We will never know since his fresh life was cut short.
Another student's Direct Engagement that I thought was relevant to my chosen topics and points made is as follows:
Direct Engagement: The Deuce
By chester_selfish on October 23, 2010 7:24 PM | 0 Comments
Tavia Nyong'o's essay on the use of the word "punk" really got me thinking about language. It's quite interesting to me the implications of certain words. Regarding sexuality, certain words can be extremely misleading. Why does our culture place such insistent emphasis on labeling and the use of words? I feel that fear is born of a lack of understanding, and assigning something a label is a way for people to feel more comfortable about it. For example, I identify as straight, though over the past few years, it has become increasingly apparent to me that I am bi-curious. These feelings are only knowable to me, but I feel that if I were to attempt to express them to many of my straight friends, they would automatically label me bisexual or homosexual. I think some of them would have a hard time comprehending the internal balancing act that I am currently undergoing. As the definition of punk differs between different cultures, the definition of my personal brand of bi-curiosity may have completely alternative connotations to the people I associate with. To convey these feelings to my friends would take a great deal of time and patience, and for fear that they may discredit me, I prefer the label of straight. There is nothing controversial about that and for simplicity's sake, that's all they need to know.
As the speaker I talked about in my Queer This! above, chester_selfish has also expressed feelings of fear of "discreditment" of friends so he just sticks to the label of straight. For simplicity's sake, as stated by chester_selfish, is also a view shared by the speaker. He may not necessarily feel completely straight but does not want to be confused in the eyes of society as anything else. Over the years "gays" have become more and more talked about and more and more accepted than say fifty years ago. As the gay minority in the world and especially in the U.S. becomes more discussed more homosexual people have had the courage to come out publicly. This has lead to a decrease in heterosexually "labeled" people. Have there always been this many gay/bisexual/lesbian people in the world and they were just too afraid to come out, or have we become a generation that considers traditionalist heteronormative society irrelevant to leading a happy and healthy life? Many youths do not ever want to get married which is a revolutionary thought since we were raised by the generation of baby boomers. There are less people getting married and more people coming out as gay or lesbian or bisexual. Can anything be "queered"? Will gay take over the world?!

Queer This: Confessions of a Hipster

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I found this tragically funny. It helped me get honest with myself. "Hipsters" have been called the "New Jocks." Consider what about the hipster is violating and dominating. Discourse, knowledge, class and race are some places to connect how one is socialized into this culture. What are possible functions of this identity? And who profits from this culture? Many queers and college students seem to fit this profile in word and deed. The part about the postmodern tattoo is "ironic." Introspection's "in" right?

DE Kincaid "little joke included" :/

Kincaid brought in a little, not that "little" but a little bit (11 bits actually) of everything to create an interesting flow in a tide that hasn't happened around this topic that I've experienced in a while. I welcome comments with open arms and a vouraristc (misspelled) eye : / (joke). How is the construction of desire fed to me by the Media or Hollywood? I'm going to watch 'home alone' much more carefully next time, although M.Culkin as a boy actor did have some content in other movies that made me question word choices and actions of hollywood directors. How could this have produced beliefs about child sexuality and everything i want to avoid thinking or talking about that goes with it? Did it shape my sexuality and desire in terms of children? What does that normative reality even look like? Whom does that image serve? Believe the winds right to stir up new ways of discussing the topic of child sexuality, child sexual abuse and the "perverts" and "queers" in the mix.
I think it's true that making a child have a voiceless, violated body is awful but having a criminal demon pervert seems to be a bit on the black and white view of things. Neither need be the scape goat. Images that demonize people, criminalize them, or make them innocent and little stand to change our relationship with the topic in a way that in the end moves away from responsibility for these problems socially. It reminds me of the prison industrial complex. A brief example: some people living in an overly policed black community get arrested for weed, few years latter their doing slave labor for corporations who in turn build more factory like prisons. The society issues like socioeconomic factors that make selling weed an option, state schools that hardly educate the children in these communities and unjust over policing in the area where the children cannot afford proper representation where the same offense in a white suburb get wrote off with paid lawyers. The point I'm trying to make here is that this issues is as complex as the other and seeing it from a variety of social angles gets at the whole picture.
It's easy to use the played out variables (norm) if the problems too heavy, get the same equation "innocent child victim" plus "pervert sexual deviant criminal" equals an angry violent mob. Neither stories are heard "other~ing" takes place and stereotypes prevail to dehumanize the perceived other which makes for simple solutions to the complex problems. It also encourage us to fear confronting our own "demons" or "simple harmless desires" and everything else that is grey, the repression of which stops us from loving. This is the mode social control takes.
No one can change anything in taking the position from the equation, that position reinscibes the social meaning that continues to oppress and FREE is never realized, its as silent as the stories we refuse to recognize. At least becoming aware of this point is helping me get a little, not that "little," closer to caring about it (wow i just dehumanized myself here). I fear children myself. They are scary just like me, they are projections of a story i don't understand. Secret stories need to be told. Secrets and shame can get messy. I would make the claim setting our personal stories free, giving them voice and getting recognition would be more then a relief.
This "queer act" will encourage humanity by understanding the grey, having compassion for another's truth based in their own experience or validating our own. Or it may be the ruin of society. I heard somewhere or read once "multiple truths can co-exist at the same time." Homogenous norms don't account for this and gain strength through "common sense" fact. I respond to truth not reason and love is my truth or the one i desire to live in. But the more we can help heal each other and bridge gaps in knowledge in this way the closer i see forgiveness or love or letting go or freeing of healthy desire that nurtures us can take place. Living in less fear and shame also a desire.
I appreciate the risk Kindcaid took in her writing about childhood sexual abuse. The stories I've heard and told have been a very freeing dialogue to learn from, de-shame, empower and reframe. While thinking about queer children and sexual stories, i challenge myself to relate to power in these larger complex contexts and in the end find power from within and solidarity with others to change the harmful norms in society that hurt children and adults (why not) and all those "other" humans. It's like another way to practice love.

Day Sixteen: November 9

Before we get into our discussion, a few announcements:

  • No class next Tuesday. Attend the conference instead. Class on Thursday.
16/18   UMN QUEER CONFERENCE 

Interrogating Complicities: Postcolonial, Queer, and the Threat Of the Nonnormative
Monday, November 15- Tuesday, November 16

*Note: We will have class on Thursday. Please attend as many panels as you can. The panel during our class is "Plotting Resistance" 11:00-12:30, Nolte Center, Room 140.

Reading: (for DIABLOG discussion on Thursday)
Arondekar, Anjali. "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive"

  • Blog Reading Mash-up is due by next Monday (11/15). Here's a reminder on the assignment.
  • I'm running really behind on blog folders. Therefore, you don't need to turn them in on the 16th of this month. Instead, you can turn them in after Thanksgiving (11.29). 
Now, our discussion:

This week the focus of our discussion is on the question, No future? While there are many ways in which we could critically reflect on the question of the future, I want to spend some time today thinking about these readings beside/against/through the claim, as it is articulated in the Dan Savage video, that "it gets better." What sort of future does this "better" suggest? Is it too tied to Edelman's reproductive futurism? Or, can we imagine it as an utopian horizon of potentiality that opens up spaces for creating new worlds outside of straight time?

In order to think about the "future" and no future?, let's look at a few different "mainstream" visions of it. These visions, all expressed through song, were produced between 1961-1982. 

1. Annie: Tomorrow (1982)

In No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, Lee Edelman has some harsh words for Annie , both her optimistic vision of the future and her figuring as the (only) Future. Note: These harsh words can also be found in Edelman's 2nd footnote in "The Anti-social thesis in queer theory": 

Screen shot 2010-11-09 at 9.17.30 AM.pngEdelman is particularly critical of the image of the Child and its reinforcing of a narrow vision of the future as reproductive futurism (exemplified by Annie in her song). Tim Dean offers the following definition of reproductive futurism: "dominant ideology of the social, which sees it in terms of a future requiring not only reproduction but protection and that therefore represents futurity in the image of the innocent child" (827). 

Michael Snediker discusses Edelman and Annie in an essay on queer optimism, writing:

If Edelman opines that all forms of optimism eventually lead to Little Orphan Annie singing "Tomorrow," and therefore that all forms of optimism must be met with queer death-driven irony's "always explosive force" (31), I oppositely insist that optimism's limited cultural and theoretical intelligibility might not call for optimism to be rethought along non-futural lines (26).

How does optimism function in this song? Can we imagine an idea of optimism that does not rely on a futural promise in the ways that Annie does? Must a belief in (the possibility of) better futures always look like this? Is this what is meant by the project, "it gets better"?

Check out the lyrics for "Tomorrow." What do you make of the line, "I love ya tomorrow"? How can we think about Annie's song in relation to Munoz and his claim that queerness is "not yet here" and that "we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds" (Introduction, 1)? Is Annie's desiring of tomorrow a form of utopia--maybe as abstract, banal optimism instead of the concrete hopes of a collective or a solitary oddball (Introduction, 3)?

2. Jackson/Flack: You Don't have to Change at All (1974)

Here's another vision of optimism, from the Micheal Jackson/Roberta Flack song in Free to be...You and Me. [For more on this song and its connections to hope and troublemaking, check out my blog entry, Michael Jackson, the 1970s version (pre-MTV, pre-surgery, pre-loss of hope, pre-spectacle)]

 

What vision of hope and/or optimism is present in this video? What similarities/differences do you see between this vision and Annie's vision? How does the future work? How does Jackson's/Flack's vision of past/present/future fit or fail to fit with the "it gets better" project? Does this vision offer up a nostalgia for past/lost innocence? A defiant rejection of "growing up" (and a queering of straight time)? 

3. West Side Story: Somewhere (1961)

Towards the end of his "it gets better" video, Dan Savage invokes, "Somewhere" and the idea that there is a place for gay youth. Starting at 6 mins 47 sec in, he says:

If my adult self could talk to my 14 year old self and tell him anything, I would tell him to really believe the lyrics to "Somewhere" from West Side Story. There really is a place for us. There really is a place for you. And one day you will have friends who love and support you. You will find love. You will find a community. And that life gets better. 

What do we make of this song and Savage's invoking of it, in relation to Munoz and his vision of utopia: Is this "place for us" a horizon of hope? What tensions do you see between the present and the future in Savage's words? 

On page 3 of his introduction, Munoz distinguishes between abstract (perhaps naive, merely affirmative?) utopia and concrete utopia. What sort of concrete vision of a better future does Savage and his partner offer in this video?

Now, let's watch the "It Gets Better" video:

 


On page 25 of his intro to Disidentifications, Munoz argues for the need to "risk utopianism if we are to engage in the labor of making a queer world" (Gopinath cites this in their discussion of Munoz). What does it mean to "risk utopianism"--the utopianism of the everyday? He also writes: "The critical work that utopian thought does, in its most concise and lucid formulation, allows us to see different worls and realities. And this conjured reality instructs us that the "here and now" is simply not enough" (171). 

Think about the idea of "it gets better" in relation to JHalb and their discussion of expanding the gay archive of negative affects:

halberstam.png

Is it possible to have space for a utopic (yet concrete and imagined) "somewhere" and spaces for "rage, rudeness, anger, spite, impatience, intensity, mania, sincerity, earnestness, over-investment, incivility, and brutal honesty" (824)? Hmm...what if we throw the kids in the FCKH8 campaign into the mix here (anyone up for a mash-up video?)? 
 

FCKH8.com Straight Talk About Gay Marriage from FCKH8.com on Vimeo.

Not enough videos for you? After the jump, check out some videos mentioned in the "After Jack" video, including a trailer for the documentary on Jack Smith, Dynasty Handbag's Hell in a Handbag, several videos from My Barbarian and a Kalup Linzy's performance of "Asshole." Try to watch (at least some of) these before class on Thursday.

Blog Mash-up Assignment

I mentioned this assignment in last week's class summary for Tuesday. Here's a reminder: Reading Mash-up Assignment: Part of Reading Engagement Grade, due 11/15

  • At least 2 readings from class
  • 1 Queer This! 
  • Another Student's Direct Engagement 
  • Whatever else from our blog or other blogs that is relevant
Combine all of these to make an entry in which you critically reflect on the following question: What is queer/ing? You don't have to provide a definition of queer (although you can), just an engagement with the question and with your various sources. This entry is your opportunity to articulate your own vision and to offer it up to others to reflect on. Be creative and push yourself to engage deeply with our blog/readings. Good luck and have fun!

Munoz Open Brainstorm Blog Session

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Hey All! Just curious as to everyone else's perspectives on Munoz's arguments on identity,its formation, memory and performativity. This goes out to not only Diablog group 5 but to the entire class. I had a nifty (or not so nifty) chart thing that outlined what I got out of it. Does anyone agree, disagree?

Cherrie Moraga: Tracking Topic #2

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Annotated bibliography #2
Cherrie Moraga

When searching the web and scholarly journals, I've found that most sites and articles talk mostly of Cherrie's books, with a little background on her. Before picking Cherrie Moraga for this assignment, I knew nothing of her. My first annotated bibliography, I went back and read and it seemed to focus on her books with a little about herself, exactly reflecting the information I've found about her. In this annotated bibliography I'm going to try to dig harder to learn about her as a person, and not just about her literature. I want to know more about her desires as a person and less about the books she has published.

Source #1: "Voices of the Gaps: Cherrie Moraga"

The first website I was able to find that had information about Moraga as a person is actually a website from the University of Minnesota. It's good to know that the school I'm attending is actually aiding in my discovery for information in our GLBT course.

It was surprising to find that after all my research I just now was coming across the fact that Cherrie didn't even acknowledge her own lesbianism until late in college/after college. The article relates to our course because I can sense desire and identity are/were a big part of her life. Her identity as a child being poor, minority, and living with a single mother. Her struggle with her identity as she tried to hide being a lesbian from herself and others. Her desire to have a connection with her mother, the one woman that mattered most.

"When I finally lifted the lid to my lesbianism, a profound connection with my mother reawakened in me. It wasn't until I acknowledged and confronted my own lesbianism in the flesh, that my heartfelt identification with and empathy for my mother's oppression--due to being poor, uneducated, and Chicana--was realized," she said

She had always been a writer, but her most serious and literature emerged after her "coming out". "Her lesbianism became an avenue to her success in writing from her heart and her mind, together". Moraga is careful in her life to not discriminate against sexuality, race, and class.

At the bottom of this page there are also more links that you may click on to learn more about Cherrie Moraga, mostly sources about her literature.

Cleary, Merideth & Furgusson, Erin. (1996). "Voices of the Gaps: Cherre Moraga". http://voices.cla.umn.edu/artistpages/moraga_cherrie.php#biblio

Source #2: "Cherrie Moraga: Biografia"

The next source I discovered is actually her very own website: (cherriemoraga.com). I found this by searching her on our University page.

This site gives information about her current awards, poetry, essays, and plays. It then gives more current information about what's going on in her life. Currently her day job, for over ten years, has been working as an "Artist in Residence in the Department of Drama at Stanford University". She's teaching Creative Writing, Latino/Queer Performance, and Indigenous Identity in Diaspora.

The classes she teaches tie into our course as well, I would say our blog posts and tweets can tie into creative writing, as well as she's teaching to queer classrooms.
The site is centered around a current picture of herself. To the right are links you can click on to view more links about her, and links you can click on to join her mailing list, contact her, and request an appearance.

At the top of the page are links to learn more about her teaching, literature, and current projects she may be involved in.

Moraga, Cherrie. < http://www.cherriemoraga.com/ >

Source #3:source 3.pdf "A Kind of Queer Balance"

Lastly, I tried searching our University Library page EBSCOhost for scholarly journals. Like usual, the journals talked mostly of Cherrie's literature and extensively of her life. I picked the best article I could find that had some inserts about her life and/or the way she thought/felt and not just all talk about her writing.

This article starts by explaining how Cherrie and her mother's relationship has grown stronger since she has accepted her life as a lesbian. This article also discussed how Cherrie was brave to go beyond the current boundaries of the time, to speak and write about colored minority queers, and not conform to the white identity formation.

"Moraga extends her investigations of identity formation, inviting readers to follow suit."Again, I've found that Moraga's life has a lot to do with culture and identity. We've been talking a lot about disidentifications & identity in class.

Tatonetti, L. (2004). "A Kind of Queer Balance": Cherríe Moraga's Aztlán. MELUS, 29(2), 227-247. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database.

Tracking Topic Annotated Bib #2: (Bathroom) Space

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Still better late than never, right? Am I right, or what?

For this list of sources, I wish to focus on public restrooms as a site for gender policing. Here I am using a pretty broad understanding of the topic 'space' in that I am looking at how spaces can be used to critique aspects of society. By examining bathrooms as clearly marked and regulated spaces I am looking to examine how mainstream society at large views gender binarism. My baseline assumption here is that the more gender neutral bathrooms (by which I mean either single-stall 'family' bathrooms or multi-stall multi male and female designated bathrooms) that are available, the more society is willing to except gender-nonconformity or ambiguity.

halberstam-portrait.jpg1) a) "An Introduction to Female Masculinity from Female Masculinity" from my textbook, Feminist Theory: A Reader (You can also find it starting on page 20 on the Google Books site)
b) Jack/Judith Halberstam (as pictured on the left)
c) In this introduction, Halberstam focusses on "The Bathroom Problem" as a source of gender policing and scrutiny of masculine female bodies. She (I am tentatively using female pronouns here) uses examples from Stone Butch Blues, Throw It to the River, and her own experience to provide narratives of the active policing of gender in public bathrooms designated for women. Halberstam says that unlike men's bathrooms, women's bathrooms are sites of "urinary segregation" (borrowing from Marjorie Garber) that limit the accessibility of public spaces for gender-transgressive folks. This leads her to an argument for spaces designated not just for a 'third gender' but for acceptability of a multitude of genders possibilities. At the core of this chapter is lived experience of gender-transgressive people that creates public restrooms as spaces to be feared.
d) As this is the introduction to Halberstam's book, I am interested in what the rest of the book might have to offer in terms of critiquing space. I think I might also be able to find some interesting ideas about sex segregation in public spaces in Marjorie Garber's Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety. I find Halberstam's personal experiences with public bathroom to be especially intriguing. Perhaps I could find other personal accounts of bathroom fear/policing that could be useful in determining the queerness of public bathrooms and other public spaces.
e) This chapter was an assigned reading for Pashmina Murthy's Feminist Thought and Theory class (or, as I like to call it, Feminisms). We discussed "The Bathroom Problem" at length in class. During this discussion, I came up with the idea of focussing on public bathrooms for this assignment. We discussed student's personal opinions and feelings about gender-neutral bathrooms, issues surrounding the creation of more gender neutral bathroom on campus and off, and the experiences with the gender neutral multi-stall bathroom on the fourth floor of Ford Hall. This discussion could, if I had recorded it, be a source in and of itself.
f) Halberstam, Judith. "An Introduction to Female Masculinity." 1998. Ed. Wendy K. Kolmar and Frances Bartkowski. Feminist Theory: A Reader. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010. 502-07. Print.

sign_restroom_family1.jpg2) a) The American Restroom Association's description of "Unisex and Family Restrooms"
b) Author unknown. The organization itself?
c) This site offers a very brief overview of issues surrounding unisex bathrooms (it refers only to single-stall bathrooms, not gender-neutral multi-stall bathrooms). The description also make the unisex bathroom synonymous with the family bathroom and/or 'special needs' bathroom. It does mention that transgender people can benefit from having these bathrooms available, but it prioritizes the needs of parents with 'opposite-sex' children and people with disabilities. This page offers a look at some of the problems that might arise from having one of these bathrooms and it outlines who could benefit from having access to one. Overall, the description does encourage business owners to include a unisex bathroom in their establishment. What I am most interested in here is that parent/child needs are more emphasized than those of gender-transgressive people.
d) Perhaps I could find another source that would provide a stronger counter-argument to having gender-neutral bathrooms available specifically for the purpose of making public spaces more accessible for trans and gender-conforming folks. I might also look into the headline in the right column of the page that talks about the legality of transgender bathroom use. Reading the information from this site (which is not government-affiliated) also leads me to some further questions: How do gender-transgressive people relate to/feel about single-stall bathrooms designated for family and handicapped people's use? Are having these available really a step toward accepting gender-nonconformity? How might having a bathroom like this change other aspects of a public space?
e) I came upon this site Googling "unisex public bathrooms". It caught my eye because of it blaring title in all caps "FAMILY RESTROOMS." The actual article is archived on the homepage under "Frequently Visited Pages." Also, if you Google "American Restroom Association," the website comes up with a list of links to different pages on the site, one of which is "Family" (that links you to the article I am citing) Interesting.
f) "Unisex and Family Restrooms." The American Restroom Association. Web. 08 Nov. 2010.

safe2pee.tif3) a) Safe2Pee.org
b) Unknown/various authors. There are, however, aliases on the 'leaderboard'. Genderqueer Hackers and Bathroom Liberation Front are also listed on the bottom of the site, supposedly as groups affiliated with its creation.
c) This site is a user-compile directory of gender-neutral multi-stall bathrooms and gender-specified single-stall bathrooms in public establishments across the US. The site is fun to explore but what I am most interested in here is its emphasis on the necessity of gender-neutral bathrooms specifically for gender-transgressive individuals. Under the 'about' section, the site sates, "Gender variant people face frequent harassment, discrimination and violence in public restrooms. Something as simple as trying to use a toilet can become a nightmarish ordeal, being forced to show ID, detained or even arrested. Some may not identify within the male / female binary and feel alienated in public bathrooms. This site offers a community-driven resource to allow people to locate safe bathrooms within their communities."
d) I just asked my roommate (who is transgendered) if he had heard of this website and he said that he had. He has used it before to locate public bathrooms that might be more hospitable to his gender-ambiguous appearance. I am interested in who else might use this site and how they might use the site. I am also asking myself how this site specifically relates to my topic. I think that the site seeks to define spaces that are gender/queer friendly. We are able to see then, which businesses cater to the needs of the queer/trans community. The directory can predict, in some ways, how we might be perceived in a given public space which will inform how we relate to the space while we are in it. Also, does the site have a mobile app? Because it should.
e) I came about this site during the same Google session as cited above: "unisex public bathrooms."
f) Safe2pee.org. Genderqueer Hackers and Bathroom Liberation Front, 2006. Web. 8 Nov. 2010.

Direct Engagement #2: Halberstam and Tomboy Bondage

Okay, this is super late. Better late than never though, right?

First, a summary of some of J. Halberstam's main points in their "Oh Bondage Up Yours! Female Masculinity and the Tomboy:" Halberstam frames this piece around the concept that tomboyism usually, if not always, takes on one of two forms. It can either be read as securely rooted in a feminine, heterosexual identity at the core of the individual, or as being linked to a strong sense of masculinity, and inevitably of queerness. Depending on which of these two ways tomboyism is read for any given individual, they either will or will not receive punishment for their gender-conforming behavior. This chapter, included in Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children, critiques readings of female masculinity/tomboyism in several examples ranging from fictional narratives to the punk rock scene. Halberstam also seeks to assess several studies/observations of tomboyism. Generally, the evaluation given by Halberstam is that none of the current modes of understanding tomboyism allow for the depathologization of all types of gender-nonconformity of childhood (except, perhaps, for the punk/rogue tomboy). Halberstam also pushes for the acceptance of a multitude of gender identities, in contrast to androgyny.
So, this reading is very helpful in two important ways for me: (1) further queering the punk identity and (2) further conceptualizing the link between gender-nonconformity in children and queerness in adults. Our Cohen and Nyong'o readings from several weeks earlier set up the epistemology and culture surrounding 'punk' for adaptability to our queering in some pretty major ways. Halberstam is on the same thought-train when they seek to use the female punk scene as an exemplifying the true bending of gender identities. Punk, in this case, represents a genuine movement toward this understanding of a multitude of genders. The chapter also gets at how we (as queer scholars) can begin to understand how gender-conformity in childhood is either demonized and labeled 'queer' or how it is accepted and labeled a 'stage.'
QUESTIONS:
-How does Halberstam approach youth agency?
-Can we be adults and tomboys simultaneously?
-How do we (as a society) view girls that 'grow out' of tomboyism and become much more feminine in adulthood?
-Halberstam talks about the "construction of new genders" (page 210). Can we create space for new genders? If so, how?

Sedgwick Diablog Wrap-Up/Summary

Our diablog group focussed on Eve Sedwick's article, "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay: The War on Effeminate Boys" from Friday, 10/29 until we lead our in-class discussion the following Thursday, 11/4. Our diablog mainly took the form of an open thread posted to the class blog site. We also created a handout that we brought to class for students to use as reference during our discussion. After all members of the group posted their initial engagements with the article, we began interacting on the open thread through comments, responding to each other's entries and proposing further discussions on some of Sedgwick's key points.

@Jo began by encouraging @Davvy and @Nosecage to examine and share our experiences with effeminacy as children and the social pressure that coincided with our gender-nonconformity. Both of them were able to identify examples from their childhoods that supported Sedgwick's theories about the negative impacts of revisionist psychoanalysis. @Nosecage went as far as to say that he most certainly fits the criteria for gender identity disorder of childhood from the DSM-III. @Davvy outlined the ways in which he was teased by his peers and he also provided an example of the way in which gender-nonconformity is politicized in Malaysia.

Another important aspect of our discussion became defining and contextualizing a mother's involvement in the lives of effeminate boys. Sedgwick touches on this briefly but @Nosecage first brought it up in his initial engagement and @Jo included it in her response. Both @Davvy and @Nosecage discussed their own experiences being supported by their mother and @Davvy mentioned his relationship with his father as well. We continued to use parental influence as a point of critical analysis throughout our discussions.

We then moved to a relatively short discussion of the idea presented by Sedgwick in reference to Green of 'peer therapy.' @Jo initially decided that peer therapy (defined by the forces society uses to normalize its citizens) is not effective in the traditional sense of the purpose of therapy. @Nosecage brought up that while peer therapy does not prove to be a supportive force in the lives of proto-gay or gender-nonconforming kids, it is often successful in its goal of silencing their expressions of different (which is perhaps its true definition of success).

Overall, our diablog went really well and flowed very smoothly. This type of forum for group work is exceptionally conducive for busy students. It was so much easier to be able to engage in our readings solo and then engage with each other on our own time. There was no need to figure out meeting times outside of the classroom, which would have been a challenge for all of us. The open thread on the blog site was a fantastic way for each of us to engage with each other, which allowed for a richer and more in depth understanding of our reading.

Queery Response #2

Response to Seashelbs Queery: Is it offensive to ask someone if their gay/trans/etc?

This is a great question and it has multiple answers. I, personally would not ask a person if they were gay, bi, or trans just because I think it is a little forward. I mean usually a person only thinks about asking someone of their sexual identity when they are borderline about what they think they actually are. No one ever asked me if I was gay, but when I started telling people, I got responses like, "Oh yeah, I can see that," or fooled completely like, "Haha, you're full of crap." Either way, I received feedback because I first decided to disclose of my sexual identity and was never approached by it. I will say this however, there are exceptions to when it is ok, in my opinion, to ask someone about it. For instance, if you are really close to the person, and he/she is one of your dearest friends, and you have noticed that something has been bothering him/her and you get him/her to start venting to you and the question comes up: 1) that's ok and 2) here's why: it's probably better that you brought it up, because then if your friend does decide to tell you that he/she is gay/bi/trans, he/she will feel a lot better about themselves now that they have gotten it off their chest. It is sort of a situational type of deal. Above all, the most important thing to remember is that you are touching a very personal area of another person's life, and you have to think about how they will react to how you approach the matter--play the game for everyone and think about how everyone will be affected.

Queer this: Too fat

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I think this photo is really interesting because of the reasons that you point out, also because this is what America wants models and every one else to resemble. They fired her because she was too fat? Come on now she looks sick. But this is the image that American wants to stick with us because to them this is beautiful. This picture is a bad image to show to adolesant girls because it gives them a false perception of what women should look like. Also it tears down their self esteem if they do not match that "picture perfect" image. shoot for a minute I felt that way too. Should I look like that? Is that beautiful? Nawww, I 'm BEAUTIFUL.

Query Response #2

Seashelbs Query: Is it offensive to ask if someone is gay/trans/etc?

I understand that this is a question that can be answered in so many ways by a single person and infinitely by people in their diversity of experiences. I'll say that one: If you want to get in my pants their is probably a better way. Second, and more seriously, as this question has arisen directed towards me in many circumstances I have considered people's intentions in asking these questions. The vast majority of my circumstances seem to land the questioner in a position of reaffirming to themselves that they do not exist in queer space. "You're straight right?" Is a possible manifestation of this line of questioning and sets to ensure the curious that they or their actions are not queer and that their way of being is not influenced by queer presences. Thus, the curious may be able to feel or communicate with my body in queer or homoerotic ways as long as I'm "straight" their actions are not queer or influenced by queerness but normative. These are questions that beg the accused to expose their societal relation to power. It may also be a means to allow people to perform social "power plays" over marginalized bodies. Is it offensive to ask? It depends who you ask but within the fabric of contemporary capitalism it is a legitimate strategy to gain from. How are you employed, what's your disposable income, are you gay/trans etc.? Just different notes on a rusty tuba.

Munoz Diablog

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Hey All! Sorry I am late I ended up closing the store last night and didnt have a chance to post. For my thoughts to the Munoz readings I decided to do a couple of bullet points on questions, thoughts and notes that I had on the reading instead of a summary. I also took a couple of photos of my initial reaction to Munoz's thoughts on identity and disidentification. Munoz Notes.doc



~"solo performance speaks to the reality of being queer at this particular moment"~


When acting out a queer performance, what about the bedroom makes it more alluring? more of a spectacle? more open to critique?


Bowers v Hardwick: A Supreme Court decision made in 1986 that criminalized oral and anal sex between consenting homosexual adults in private. This decision was overturned in 2003 by Lawrence v Texas.


In wanting to become a "truck driving closeted diesel dyke" she reclaims the lesbian stereotype and embraces it thus turning it into something "powerful and seductive".
"public performance of memory"-Everyday lives and experiences are what break the stereotype, even if that means reconstituting it.


What is Disidentification? (Munoz claims it is a survival strategy utilized by those of minority identity to navigate a sphere in which a phobic majority punishes those who do not conform to their politics)


What is identity and why do we cling to it?



    If disidentification enables politics, what about identity is political?

How is identity the same/different from stereotypes?

Query Response 2

Seashelbs - Query: Is it offensive to ask if someone is gay/trans/etc?

Although I do identify myself as a heterosexual, I feel that by asking someone else what their sexual identity lies, is not offensive depending on the situation. If the question that is being asked, is in a social environment where everyone is very open and understanding, then I believe it should be okay to ask such a question. However, I always find myself judging certain individuals based on their physical appearance and their mannerisms. Maybe I have been conditioned to react that way, but what I do understand is that when I meet someone who I may assume to be gay/lesbian/trans/etc, I would never have the nerve to ask them if they were gay. I think there is just a boundary line where I feel that it is not necessary to ask someone about their sexual identity, unless that individual wants to openly tell me about it. Throughout my whole life, people knew that I was Asian but they automatically assumed that I was either Chinese or Japanese. Now I know that this is different from being asked if one is gay or not, but I have had to deal with people asking me if I was Chinese or Japanese. I hated it when people did that to me, because I did not want to be categorized under only those two different ethnicities. Maybe I am wrong about this but my personal opinion is that, gay people must also dislike it when other people ask them if they were gay or not. However, I still feel that depending on the social environment and how the person phrases the question, it should be okay to ask someone what their sexual identity is.

Query Response! (2)

I can't insert an image right now for whatever reason, BUT, the tweet that I'm responding to is:
davyeo: how effective is the internet or media in helping youth in their coming out process and the understanding of the public?

I think the internet is extremely helpful to youth who are coming out or thinking about coming out.
First of all, it's one big pile of information- just google anything you'd want to know about coming out, about being gay or lesbian or anything else and you can find something that will help you out. That alone would take away some of the stress because you could answer some of the burning questions without actually having to take the coming-out-step to get them answered.
The internet also provides a venue for a person to come out anonymously, whether through their own blog, vlog, or just on comments on various websites. That allows them to kind of prepare themselves for having a "gay lifestyle" before they let people in their lives know about their sexual orientation.
I think having the internet as a venue to express themselves in is a big help and a really great outlet.

Diablog: Munoz

GLBT article1.pdf
GLBT article2.pdf

This article starts by discussing the author's encounter with Marga Gomez's performance in 1992, "Marga Gomez is Pretty, Witty, and Gay". Munoz says, "Her performance permits the spectator, often a queer... to imagine a world where queer lives, politics, and possibilities are representable in their complexity." The author states how Marga's solo performance changed thought about disidentification theoretical concepts and figurations.

In this article: "disidentification is meant to be descriptive of the survival strategies the minority subject practices in order to negotiate a phobic majoritarian public sphere that continuously elides or punishes the existence of the subjects who do not conform to the phantasm of normative citizenship."

Munoz's article discusses finding one's identity, or where they find themselves fitting within the norm. There are identities that we create that are socially structured; many people find themselves living by rules or in roles that affect their representation. Everyone can't fit within the norm, but can they survive if they differentiate themselves far away from the norm? It's also important to note that depending ones race, gender, and sexual preference, they may have a different perspective.

The article has to do with desire, identity, and how people perceive ideas/theory.

Diablog Week 5 : Munoz

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The article introduces a performance called, Marga Gomez Is Pretty, Witty, and Gay, which connects to the author's focus on performing disidentifications. The meaning of disidentification in this article is a practice and or strategy in which a minority subject uses in order to negotiate a way to survive within or outside a dominant public sphere. Munoz used the performance as an example to indicate memory as a powerful disidentification because it was due to the lesbian stereotyping in the public sphere which interpellated her as a lesbian. Interpellation in this article was used in reference to Althusser's theory of ideology as an unavoidable realm for the subjects to be "hailed". Memory in this article is used as a way to create one's self through identification of certain aspects of characteristics that one recognizes. Throughout the article, there are numerous examples of cultural performers that create a space for one to negotiate between a fixed identity and the identity that is socially constructed through encoded roles. These encoded roles are then specified down to race, sexuality, gender, and labor which becomes a "point of collision of perspectives". This means that there is a point where all these roles influence the construction of hybrid representations. These representations thus leads into the "identities-in-difference" which are defined as the subjects that failed to interpellate within the dominant public sphere. In this article, the "identities-in-difference" are referred to people of color, queers, or just those that do not fit into the heteronormative society. Munoz's argument in this paper seems to be that the subject is not only influenced by the others but can exert change onto the other thus, by doing so creates a change within themselves. That one of the ways to create one's self, one has to properly identify these distinctions and not just only reject certain characteristics that does not align with their needs but it is a creation of multiple aspects of an identity. The performance of disidentification in this article is related to the desire, identification, and ideology of what the individual perceives.

Query Response!

Screen shot 2010-11-07 at 3.35.07 PM.png

When I first saw this question it made me think of how a parent can/cannot make their child gay.
I believe that there isn't a choice. You are gay or not gay, but I do think that the way your parents raise you can influence how much you associate with one gender or another. If this class has taught me anything, it's that regardless of one's sex or sexual orientation, one can associate with whichever gender (or a combination) they so choose.
I think it's really difficult to say how much or how little influence a parent has on a child's affiliation with a gender- mostly because as a child grows their interactions with the outside world are controlled less and less by the parent.
I think a lot of parents get scared when they realize that their child is gay, and especially after doing a google search about raising gay children, most of the results I got were "What Do I do NOW?" or "Anxious About Raising a Gay Child?" and the like. I think it's kind of sad that most parents would have that reaction. Coming out is already kind of scary I'm sure, so I think it's especially important to have the support of your parents and if they're just scared or worried about themselves after you tell them, that's certainly not helping anything.
In the opposite kind of direction, I think it's not ok for parents to try to raise their child to be gay. I think if you try too hard to influence a child's sexual orientation you're just going to confuse them and then they'll have an even harder time in the awkward teen years than they would've otherwise. They're hard enough as it is.

Sedgwick Diablog Discussion Handout

DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual):
1973: dropped homosexuality from its list of mental disorders
1980: added 'gender identity disorder of childhood' as diagnosis
girls: believes "that she has, or will grow, a penis"
boys: "preoccupation wish female stereotypical activities as manifested by a preference for either cross-dressing or simulating female attire, or by a compelling desire to participate in the games and pastimes of girls."

Revisionist Psychoanalysis: a new approach to treating homosexuality in a therapeutic setting
Richard Friedman's 1988 Male Homosexuality: A Contemporary Psychoanalytical Perspective
seeks to perpetuate gender binarism
promotes the seemingly ambivalent wish of therapists for a 'nongay outcome'
"...the healthy homosexual is one who (a) is already grown up and (b) acts masculine" (141)

What these institutions "demonstrate is the wish for the dignified treatment of already gay people is destined to turn into either trivializing apologetics or, much worse, a silkily camouflaged complicity in oppression--in the absence of a strong, explicit, erotically invested affirmation of some people's felt desire or need that there be gay people in the immediate world" (148)

Gender-nonconforming Children (especially effeminate boys):
"...seen as a pathology involving the core gender identity..." (142)
The role of the mother:
Richard Green's 1987 The "Sissy Boy Syndrome" and the Development of Homosexuality and Friedman: "mothers 'proud of their sons' nonviolent qualities' are manifesting unmistakable 'family pathology'" (144)
"...these mysterious skills of survival, filiation, and resistance could derive from a secure identification with the resource richness of a mother" (144)

Green "refers approvingly... to 'therapy, be it formal (delivered by a paid professionals) or informal (delivered by the peer group and the larger society via teasing and sex-role standards)'" (146)

Gender-nonconformity and sexual difference:
"...the depathologization of atypical sexual object choice can be yoked to the new pathologization of an atypical gender identification" (142)
"One serious problem with this way of distinguishing between gender and sexuality is that, while denaturalizing sexual object choice, it radically renaturalizes gender" (142-143).
"The reason effeminate boys turn out gay, according to [Friedman], is that other men don't validate them as masculine" (143)
"For Friedman, the increasingly flexibility in what... can be processed as masculine... fully account[s] for the fact that so many 'gender disturbed' (effeminate) little boys manage to grow up into 'healthy' (masculine) men, albeit after the phase where sexuality has differentiated as gay" (143)
For Friedman, "it seems merely an unfortunate... misunderstanding that for a proto-gay child to identify 'masculinely' might involve his identification with his own erasure" (144)

Que(e)ry Response #2: Unfixing Fixity?

jaropenerkatetweet1.png

Okay, so this is a really good (tough) question. I am going to give some thoughts which will, most likely, not serve so much as an answer per se. Hopefully I will be able to shed some light on what might eventually become something of an answer.
I think it is important to first acknowledge the opening statement of this question: "if theory tries to undo 'gender fixity...'" I will assume, for all intents and purposes, that jaropenerkate is referring to queer theory, as a discipline and as a site of heavy deconstruction of categories. It has long since been acknowledged that gender categories, in that they are maintained almost entirely by actions performed (Butler) by subjects, are socially/societally constructed identities. This being said, queer theory and other postmodern disciplines seek to dismantle the characteristics that we (as a society) associate with gender and challenge their origins, authenticity, and relevance. Those individuals who aline themselves with queer politics (or perhaps feminism) might seek to break down their own performances of gender and perform as gender-neutral, gender-fucked, or gender-queer.
So, if we move from societal space in general (as I have been ambivalently using as a framework in the above explanations) to virtual space and communities, how might constructions of gender change? I think the heart of this query lies in whether we are more or less able to flex gender binaries in the virtual world. While ideally the virtual spaces would give us greater allowances to construct an identity that is not inherently affected by social influences, this does not seem to be the case in many of the mainstream virtual spaces. We (as users of these spaces) are consistently asked to identify ourselves within a male/female binary. If we are required to do this, then perhaps we have more flex room in the 'real world.' Perhaps if we are read by others based solely on our performances (in contrast to a clearly-defined label on our profile pages), there is a greater chance that we might not be read in binary terms.
Just some beginning thoughts.

Diablog Group??

24250_1240498733962_1274100155_30601077_7735864_n.jpgI'm signed up for the week where we focus our discussion around Ahmed... I'm wonder who else is signed up for that??

-Shelby (picture is added so you know which one "Shelby" is, just in case you don't know me)

Diablog Week 5 Munoz

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Diablog Week 5:
Munoz
He starts off with a recount of a play called Malga Gomez is pretty, witty, and gay. It is how he describes "a meditation on the contemporary reality of being queer in North America. Being public as yourself when you are the minority assists in capturing social agency. Social agency here means forcing recognition as queer thus assuming identity as something different to be acknowledged but not necessarily accepted in society. The character in the play Gomez disidentifies herself with the mainstream lesbian as she discusses her first interaction with lesbians in public as an eleven year old. She does not want to be associated with "truck-driving closeted diesel dykes". She wants to be glamorous and not a pathetic spectacle. Malga Gomez is able to hear the "lesbian call" featured on the David Susskin Show without her mother's knowledge since she is in denial or maybe just does not notice. Disidentification is said here to mean not identifying yourself or claiming alliance to heteronormative definition or stereotypical lesbian or gay. It means recognizing the stereotypes and taking bits and pieces of that to be your own individual within the minority. Malga saw these lesbians on television with their wigs, wigs being something not stereotypically lesbian, and that made her want to be one.
While watching this portrayal done by Malga of her moment of disidentification, Munoz recalled his viewing of Truman Capote on the same television show as a kid. He understood a bitchy comment Capote made which he thought only "gays could hear". This childhood moment of disidentification was only resurrected and realized while watching Malga's performance of self. This to Munoz demonstrated the power and shame of queerness. He had buried that memory and had yet to recognize its significance. It did even exist until he saw Malga Gomez is pretty, witty and gay.
Disidentification is not always a good strategy of resistance or survival for all minority subjects. Sometimes direct resistance can be useful but for queers of color Munoz thinks that they must follow conformist paths to survive in this world.
People in minorities need to interface with different sub cultural fields to activate their own sense of self. This is also true for straight white people I believe. Munoz mentions that straight people do this as well but perhaps not to the extent that gays do. The disidentification performances discussed strive to envision and trigger new social relations. This means that by creating a spin-off identity of what is seen in visions of gay or lesbian, you can create your own existence. Identity is defined in this article as a struggle between what is known and how to relate to that disposition. Clearly, each stereotype or norm will not fit every individual. Understanding of self and socially constructed narratives of self should not be reduced to "lowest common denominator terms," as Munoz puts it. This means that there will not always be a perfect mold which to form yourself to that is known.
How do you view identity as straight person? What does your identity mean to you? How may this differ for someone of a minority? Have you ever disidentified with someone of your minority be it white, straight, gay, lesbian, etc?

Query response 2

Query::::

callaker

http://www.servicemembersunited.org/survey = DADT survey. Thoughts? #qd2010

I never really understood why it was such an issue for homosexuals to be in the military and this survey troubles me even more. I find it troublesome that in the beginning of the survey they ask you to rate morale, performance and ability to work together of your unit and they ask you again when you reach the "homosexual" section. Do people really have this much of an issue with homosexuality that it would interfere with their morale? Personally, I wouldn't care either way as long as my leader and team members are people who I can depend on and I don't believe sexuality determines ones dependability. I especially don't like the fact that this survey asks how willing you would be to recommend a family member to join the military if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," was repealed (page 21). It just seems strange that this is such a huge issue within the military. I've talked to several friends of mine who are heterosexual and in the military and they've told me that they really don't care who is in the army as long as they don't hit on them. However, they also told me that some of the members in their units had a problem with homosexuality in the military because they thought that they (homosexuals) wouldn't perform well in combat. I really don't see why being a homosexual would affect your ability to fight. I just think it's really interesting how much of a problem this is within our military.

Query Response 2

Chester_selfish: I've been bisexuality marginalized by LGBT and straight communities alike. What are others thoughts on this?

I read somewhere that sexual orientation cannot be interchanged with sexual preference, technically speaking. It can be insulting to those who are homosexual and bisexual. I thought it was interesting and is relatable to Chester_selfish's comment featured above. Sexual orientation is determined at birth while sexual preference is thought to be a choice. Another idea that I have seen discussed in several magazine articles and featured stories online is that homosexual individuals view bisexual people as "not one of them". They view all people as either gay, straight, or lying. The "lying" group includes those identified as bisexual. It is believed that those individuals are too afraid to identify as gay or have some other issue with it. Although, these opinions are not of my own, they are often represented in popular culture. For example, there is an episode of Sex and the City that came to mind and since I can't get this F***ing thing to work to get a link to connect, here is the exact address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K1_KSysCLI or you can visit youtube.com and type in "sex and the city clips bisexual" and click on the first link that comes up which should be titled 'Sex and the City: Carrie Season 3'. (fast forward to 2 minutes and 30 seconds and watch for a while).


This clip shows that popular culture fuels the belief that bisexuality is experimental and glamorized as being adventurous and different, when bisexuality as well as homosexuality has not been proven as a choice or biologically determined. Personally I think it sucks that bisexual people are marginalized by their gay and lesbian counterparts.

AB #2: Don't Judith Butler Me

Source #1: Judith Butler: "As a Jew, I was taught it was ethically imperative to speak up."
Source #2: ha-buah (The Bubble): Discussing Movies From Around The World


A movie was made in the Middle East recently called "ha-buah," which translates into "The Bubble." The Bubble stands for a city in Israel called Tel-Aviv; it's nicknamed "The Bubble" because the metropolitan city and it's inhabitants seem to be aloof to the trials of the rest of the country and they really don't want to deal with anything other than the greatest, most trendiest restaurant or store.
The plot of the story is that Ashraf, a Palestinian, falls in love with Noam, an Israeli, and they have to hide their love because of the opinions of everyone around them. In the city of Tel-Aviv nothing is supposed to upset the status quo, and the romance between Ashraf and Noam has potential to rock the boat.

The way Judith Butler comes into the movie is that one of the characters' says "Don't Judith Butler me." What he means by this is not to stereo type him because he's a man. Judith Butler was asked about the use of her name in the film and this was her reaction:

[laughs] Although I disagreed with the use of my name in that context. I mean, it was very funny to say, "don't Judith Butler me," but "to Judith Butler someone" meant to say something very negative about men and to identify with a form of feminism that was against men. And I've never been identified with that form of feminism. That?s not my mode. I'm not known for that. So it seems like it was confusing me with a radical feminist view that one would associate with Catharine MacKinnon or Andrea Dworkin, a completely different feminist modality. I'm not always calling into question who's a man and who's not, and am I a man? Maybe I'm a man. [laughs] Call me a man. I am much more open about categories of gender, and my feminism has been about women's safety from violence, increased literacy, decreased poverty and more equality. I was never against the category of men.


I did my annotated bibliography on this simply because I thought the film looked interesting (I have it on my Netflix queue). It struck me that a film that centered around homosexuality would be made in the Middle East because, typically, the culture there is very hostile towards homosexuality...or so I thought.

"Although the idea of a vibrant queer community in Israel, reputed birthplace of the biblical condemnation of same-sex relations, may seem far-fetched, Israel today is one of the world's most progressive countries in terms of equality for sexual minorities. Politically, legally, and culturally, the community has moved from life at the margins of Israeli society to visibility and growing acceptance."

That was what Lee Walzer had to say about homosexuality in Israel. Despite the growing acceptance though, there's still a taboo, as shown in the movie. I kind of liken it to the U.S. in that there's definitely an increasing rate of acceptance for GLBT but there's also still a lot of hostility.


It was interesting to me just to kind of read about how Israel film makers portray gay relations and the struggles that they come up against vs. how a US film maker would do things, and then see what kind of references they'd make, like the Judith Butler reference. I think that the United States and the activists that emerge have a lot of influence in other countries, like Israel, because if the reference was made in The Bubble then she must be well known in Israel, not just in the U.S. I know that she's a well known activist, but it's still pretty amazing that a reference like that can be made (and understood) in a movie that's meant for the general public.

I think it's also interesting to kind of analyze Butler's reaction to her being in this movie. It was cool, I thought, that she didn't get mad about the usage, but it was good that she did clarify her views, just to put it out there. I think that the way her name was used in the movie wasn't exactly the way it probably should've been used. I'm glad though because then in the interview Butler broke her views down to a pretty simplified version and then brought in the whole idea that you can't really classify "men" and "women" anymore; gender has become a whole new thing that's kind of undefinable.

Query 2: On bisexuality

Query: I've been bisexuality marginalized by LGBT and straight communities alike. What are others thoughts on this?

This question really hit home with me. I have always felt the same way because I identify as bisexual and can "pass" as straight. Because of this, the concept of passing is something I am very familiar with. I find it hard to understand why I always receive the same response, "just choose"... which has never been the right question. I identify as pansexual and bisexual strictly because I don't care about gender. I look for good people to spend my time with. When people ask if I like men or women I respond, "I like people". Because for me, that's all it is. Obviously I'm attracted to certain things, but my main focus is on finding a PERSON with whom I'm attracted to and makes my heart smile.

I have learned to walk a fine line between between the gay/lesbian and straight divide. I am not fully accepted by either, but depending on who I'm dating can fit into one group better than the other. That's okay with me though I guess. It has never really bothered me that much because I don't really fit into any category and have always prided myself on having a variety of friends. I spread myself thin as to avoid being put in boxes. Maybe we should form our own strictly bisexual group and discriminate against everyone else! Ha, jokes!?

Day Fifteen: November 2

Last week we had a very productive discussion about queer/ing children. The diablog group did an excellent job of setting us up for a close reading of Kincaid's "Producing Erotic Children" on Thursday and I experimented with live-tweeting. In our discussions, we focused a lot of attention on the Child (as an image, as metaphor, as blank slate on which our stories of innocence, nostalgia, protection and purity are crafted and expressed). This week we will focus more of our attention on the impact of these (gendered/sexed/raced) stories on actual children. We will look closely at the "It Gets Better" Project; the various "stories" being circulated concerning children/youth (should we continue pushing at the distinctions between child, youth, adolescent, teenager, etc here?), bullying and suicide; and the consequences of these stories for children/us/our activist strategies for fighting oppression. 

Revised Reading Schedule for the next two weeks:

9/11     NO FUTURE? 

Readings:  
  • "The Anti-Social Thesis in Queer Theory"
  • Selections from Jose Esteban Munoz: 
  1. from Cruising Utopia. "Introduction" (OPTIONAL) and "After Jack" (REQUIRED)
  2. about Cruising Utopia. Social Text: Periscope: Cruising Utopia (READ ALL 4 ENTRIES)
  3. from Disidentifications. "Introduction" (for DIABLOG DISCUSSION)
16/18   UMN QUEER CONFERENCE 

Interrogating Complicities: Postcolonial, Queer, and the Threat Of the Nonnormative
Monday, November 15- Tuesday, November 16

*Note: We will have class on Thursday. Please attend as many panels as you can on Tuesday. The panel during Tuesday's class is "Plotting Resistance" 11:00-12:30, Nolte Center, Room 140.

Reading: (for DIABLOG discussion on Thursday)
Arondekar, Anjali. "Without a Trace: Sexuality and the Colonial Archive"

Any Questions?

Reading Mash-up Assignment: Part of Reading Engagement Grade, due 11/15

  • At least 2 readings from class
  • 1 Queer This! 
  • Another Student's Direct Engagement 
  • Whatever else from our blog or other blogs that is relevant
Combine all of these to make an entry in which you critically reflect on the following question: What is queer/ing? You don't have to provide a definition of queer (although you can), just an engagement with the question and with your various sources. This entry is your opportunity to articulate your own vision and to offer it up to others to reflect on. Be creative and push yourself to engage deeply with our blog/readings. Good luck and have fun!

Oh, and in case you missed it, here's a recent entry that I posted on how to do links in comments.

Discussion: Halberstam, femmephane, questioning transphobia, Bernstein, Rowe

1. It gets better? Here are a few more links to add to the conversation: 


And an excerpt:

Some folks have criticized Savage's campaign, saying that we should not ask gay teens to stand by and accept their own bullying. I can understand that criticism, but at the same time, I can hear the message Savage is trying to convey. Adolescence is a strange, awkward period of time for most of us - we are in the process of discovering who we are, and we are still learning to navigate our peers and parents/guardians. We are starting to learn some of life's harshest lessons, and beginning the journey toward adulthood. For those of us who have left this phase in our development, we can say that it does get better. It isn't guaranteed to do so, but most adults have one thing teens lack: control over their lives. At some point, the decisions you make become those youdetermine. And that kind of control and autonomy does make a world of difference.

Also, check LaGaeta's (Tavia Nyong'o's) entry about this issue on bullybloggers: School Daze. Here's an excerpt:

As an adult I admit to finding news of teenage suicide heartbreaking. But I am young enough to remember a time when I confess to finding the phrase "teenage suicide" hilarious, reeking as it did of concern. That is, of the condescending, sentimental and moralistic attitude parents, teachers and adults take to the aggravations and ambiguities of being an adolescent, which you kind of have to survive in spite of their help. Heathers (1989) was my generational call-to-arms against both high school bullying and the inept adult response that halfheartedly steps in to confront it, only to see, reflected back, a less compromising mirror of its own determined hostility to queers, youth, and other marginal types.

I'm not sure my 13 or 14 or even 18-year-old self would have been able to identify with Savage or his hubby. And my 35-year-old self isn't so optimistic that it does just "get better." Another member of this blog once criticized the LGBT obsession with saving gay youth as perpetuating the general American idolatry with youth over aging, and that is a valid point. It's not that there aren't vulnerable young people, but there are vulnerable people of all ages. Lots of folks, particularly the gender nonconforming and/or trans, never "grow out" of the kinds of social reprisals for being physically different the hubbies talk about. Lots of people's families of origin never accept them, or are too damaged and fucked up for anyone to want to go back to, even if they could. And then there is that little issue of aging. Who'll spare a thought for the old queen?

Anyone interested in using our blog as a space for crafting (a) thoughtful responses to "It Gets Better" (specifically) or bullying and suicide?

2. Initially I was planning to offer up a little blurb about how/why I decided to put these various readings into conversation with each other. Instead of doing that, I want to ask you all: 

  • What connections do you see between these readings? 
  • What themes emerge?
  • How do these readings fit/don't fit together?
  • What do these readings say about the topic of queer/ing children? Anything important that's missing?
3. On page 199, Halberstam write: 

They [Hyde, Rosenberg, and Behrmann] believe that tomboyism should be viewed as "a normal, active part of female development." The unfortunate effect of the normalization of the tomboy role in this study is...good and bad models of tomboy identification are produced in which good tomboyism corresponds to heterosexual female development and bad tomboyism corresponds to homo- or transsexual development. 

What is normal? (How) do normal and normalization differ? What are norms? Does normal = normalization = norms? If not, how do these terms fit together? What do they mean in the context of Halberstam's passage? What about in the context of the youtube clips below?

4. Two more examples of gender policing and its consequences to add in:

Example One: Video Clip from Judith Butler: Philosopher Encounters of a Close Kind:


Example Two
: All the Single Ladies Fail

 

1st Annotated Bibliography (of sorts)

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For my first annotated bibliography I will be focusing on the broader mission statement and social justice framework of the group Queers for Economic Justice, an amazing non-profitorganization based in New York City. QEJ is extremely proactive in examining how homophobia and transphobia contribute the disproportionate numbers GLBT folk who are experiencing homelessness and poverty, as well as addressing the unique needs of queer folk experiencing poverty and homelessness (of which safety is central).

1)I went straight to the organization's website to begin my research, and used it for my first source. Their mission is: "Queers for Economic Justice is a progressive non-profit organization committed to promoting economic justice in a context of sexual and gender liberation". They also explain, "We do this work because although poor queers have always been a part of gay rights and economic justice movements, they have been, and continue to be, largely invisible in both movements". By realizing specific ways in which people are marginalized by both their socioeconomic status as well as gender identity or sexuality and the challenges associated with how these operate, QEJ is able to identify specific needs and step up to deliver.

Accessible from the main page are details about their current projects: beyond marriage, shelter organizing, welfare organizing, and immigrant rights. In some capacity these projects all address issues that aren't acknowledged within mainstream GLBT organizing or well understood (if at all) by typical service providers. Portions of the website are dedicated to education, training, media, outreach, and advocacy in attempts to be begin filling some voids. QEJ hosts a monthly television series also available online which highlights political issues of concern to low-income GLBT folk, which provides information and covers events and issues in an accessible and understandable way.

Also provided are links to full reports that provide crucial data and information to support their mission and objectives that they have compiled for easy access under a tab labeled 'reports and factsheets'. Much of the research presented here was done either by or in collaboration with QEJ, and is useful for anyone interested in gaining insight into the experiences of how queerness, drug policies, welfare, homelessness, etc. interact to provide certain outcomes that are dehumanizing and unjust in ways barely conceivable.

There is basically everything left to investigate at this point, but what I will likely go to first are browse the Q-Talk series of videos as well as look at the reports and resources they have available through the site.

Queers for Economic Justice. Web. 20 October, 2010. http://q4ej.org/

2)The Welfare Warriors Research Collaborative. "A Fabulous Attitude: Low-Income LGBTGNC People Surviving and Thriving on Love, Shelter, and Knowledge: A Participatory Action Research Study". 2010. http://www.q4ej.org/Documents/afabulousattitudefinalreport.pdf

This is one a few reports available from the website and seemed to offer some cutting edge research that helps identify how to help foster resilience and provide for the unique needs of being queer in an economically disadvantaged position. By being intentional about seeking answers for what people rely upon and hope for to maintain, perhaps researching love as a tangible and reportable figure is not a stretch in the least.

The group's mission statement that they are "addressing issues in our community of multiracial, low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming (LGBTGNC) people". Working in conjunction with QEJ and multiple allies and financial supporters, the research within this report focuses largely on how alternative social structures and support are built in the absence of societal and familial rejection.

The research and findings are very unique in that it is taking a look at not only what poor queer people face in terms of material reality, but also what can aid resilience in the face of injustice. In order to produce data and findings, 171 interviews were conducted as well as 10 videos and hundreds of hours of recorded material (10). The way in which knowledge and information is produced and the way in which the WWRC operates are both intentional processes reflecting the core values of QEJ's mission.

The report ends with a section titled "what can this knowledge do?"

Nicely put is the overall finding that social institutions be held accountable and change to be more inclusive:

"...the WWRC recognizes how deeply peoples' lives are interconnected, and dependent upon the state. Our data reflects survey takers' insistence that social systems and institutions be held accountable and be made to change" (p.65).

I am curious to dig deeper into the queer response to recent hate crimes legislation which this report brings up toward the end...

"While real access to civil rights at the local, state, and federal level can make a tremendous difference in LGBTGNC lives; we understand the investment in militarism and policing marked by hate crimes law as being at cross purposes with racial, sexual, and gender liberation [...] Not only does sentencing enhancement contribute to the problem of violence in many communities by adding bodies and years to incarceration rates, but most advocacy discourses keep discussions of hate crimes and state violence distinct" (p. 69)

Further investigation: what can I find about QEJ and its anti-PIC stance, what are queer critiques of the recent Matthew Shephard Act, and how are alternatives to imprisonment such as restorative justice queer?

3) Heidi Barton Stink's song "Direct Action"
I've heard this song performed a few times and recently came across a video somebody made and posted on youtube.com. I thought it was a good way to illustrate some of what QEJ stands for in a creative way.

Some lyrics: "health care and a place to sleep/we need love and some food to eat/we need a life without the threat of violence at the hands of police [...] on average once a month, a trans person is murdered because/we've been viewed as less than human..."

Stink, Heidi Barton. "Direct Action". Youtube.com. 15 May 2010. RadQueerify. 1 November 2010. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTTMcd4Z7oc

Did you catch what the sign in the video said? No worries:

"Marriage rights won't magically stop people from brutalizing us! We need food, shelter, health care, education, and security before anything else!"

I bring this video into conversation with Queers for Economic Justice because of its central message highlighting ongoing and systemic violence against transgender people in particular. The lyrics and imagery of the video support the principles that QEJ is founded on, and it's always fun to highlight Heidi once again. I've heard this song performed a few times, the most recent of which was at a spoken word event held by the QSCC a few weeks ago during coming out week. She acknowledged the recent tragedies of youth suicides but also brought awareness to the fact that we rarely hear of the murders and violence experienced regularly by trans women of color. The realities faced by poor queers will likely never be accurately represented in the media (or represented at all!), so I find it important that Heidi is able to get the message out through means of small shows and free downloads.

Future investigations that this song and video inspire: state sanctioned violence (police and the PIC) against the poor in general and queer poor specifically (trans and/or gender queer even more specifically). Police brutality and abuse of power is not regularly discussed in the mainstream as a real source of violence against communities facing poverty (outside of them anyways), and as such leave their images somewhat untainted.

I came across this video and wanted to post it for further context:

A statement in regards to the outcome of the Duanna Johnson trial (published April 19th 2010, the most recent I could find).

"The evidence favoring Duanna Johnson's abuse was unprecendented. Had Duanna been white or cisgendered, the case would've been a no-brainer"...

(to read more: http://bashbacknews.wordpress.com/2010/04/19/duanna-johnson-trial-a-mistrial/)

AB: # 2

As I further reading readings/articles and view websites I focused my tracking topic "affect" more closely on how youths particularly children who are in elementry and Jr. high school. I choose to pick these ages of children because I feel that, this age range is where they tend to be exempt from images and representations of queerness. They have many questions and are at an age of curiosity. So with that I feel asking or seeing how queerness "affects" their lifes will not only see how queerness "affects" them but how they may view queerness, how queerness is apart or not apart of their life. At those ages children are the most receptable to new things and if they are introduced to such a new aspect to life early they possibly will be more open to it, or even just aware, so that then they will be more understand and able to respect the
"queerness". So my main goal is to see how they internalize the queerness.

Title of sources:
1.) Queer lives as "hormal" lives
2.) Fight for the queering desire
3.) Queer your eye

Author/authors of the source
1.) Thomas, Gregory
2.) Jordan, Patricia
3.) Matthews, John

Brief summary (How it relates to topic)
1.) In this article it spoke about how queer lives are now being seen as "normal", how queer is being seen as the new heterosexual. They say this because queer groups of people and images and representations are advertised more and more and they have more support than ever before.

2.) This article spoke upon queerness, particularly men in relationships with men and women in relationships with women and how "we" society all have that underlying desire but dont because of how America trains us to behave and how to live through what America deams as good and not good when in a relationship.

3.) This article spoke about how society needs to obtain a queer eye in life in order to be more well rounded and accepting to all classes, races, gender ect of people. developing a queer eye allows a person to be more open minded and understanding.

Direction for further reading
1.) In this article I would like to further read what is "normal" and how that idea of "normal" is what stops others from going outside of the box that is deamed "normal" and thus creating this image of "normal" for our youths.

2.) In this reading I would like to further read into what the queering desire details for children who are school level age and how do they participate or not participate in this idea based upon what society tells them.

3.) In this article I would like to futher read how queering your eye is a good idea or bad idea. How in doing so "affect" youths perceptions.

Where and how you found source
For 2 of my articles I got them off the school library website by putting queer and affect into the search engine. For the 3rd reading I got that off of the google website by asking for articles that spoke about how queerspace affects youths.

Formal citation MLA format
1.) Thomas, Gregory."Queer lives as "normal" lives", Dec.2006, vol.8, issue 4, p454-470
2.) Jordan, Patricia."Fighting for the queering desire" Jan. 2002, vol 6 issue 3, p360-400
3.) Matthew, John."Queer your eye" Feb.1996, vol.10, issue 2 p400-425

Queering Intimacy Annotated Bibliography #2

I am continuing to queer intimacy within families. I have chosen this time to delve a little deeper into these queer familial relationships. By looking closer at certain emotional or stressful situations (funerals, coming out, wedding parenting, etc.) within queer families and the intimacy that is or isn't experienced will help shed light on how these issues are or aren't addressed within queer families.


Berstein, Mary, and Renate Reimann. Queer Families Queer Politics: Challenging Culture
and the State. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. Book.
queer families politics.jpg

I had read this book for my Love, Sex, and Marriage course. The book has 24 chapters that show examples of queer life and how queer people and their families have experienced situations including marriage, work, family outings, death of a family member, parents who identified as hetero and came out as adults, and more. Queer Families Queer Politics is not only informative, but easy to read and enjoyable. I focused here on chapter two In/Visibility: A member of the Funeral: An Introspective Ethnography. The woman, Nancy, provides her life story and the current obstacle of her father's poor health and eventual funeral. She explains briefly her life first as a heterosexual, the acceptance of her lesbian self, and the way she exists or more so her invisibility as a lesbian within in her family of origin. In sum, she as seen as a lonely individual, incapable of love. She makes use of her father's funeral by writing this essay as an introspection ethnography. She says, "With this formulation, it is possible to view the process of its production through the lens of a family ethnography concerning the struggle of a white lesbian with a heterosexual history to become visible and accepted (as lesbian) in her working-class family" (35).im a full grown lesbian.jpg

Berstein, Mary, and Renate Reimann. Queer Families Queer Politics: Challenging
Culture and the State. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001. Book

I decided to also to engage with chapter 14 Parenthood: "My Daddy Loves Your Daddy": A Gay Father Encounters a Social Movement. I just couldn't pass this chapter up. It was such an emotional and inspirational chapter for me. My dad is a gay man whom for many years identified as heterosexual. He has been out to immediate family and a few friends for about 12 years now. John, the author of this chapter has a history similar to my dad's in which he identified as heterosexual for more than 15 years and was also married with two children. He explains his role as a much more liberated and active gay dad. John explains how he found such meetings and gatherings as the Gay Fathers' Forum and Fag Dads by the Bay . By making these groups an active part of his life he, "...had found an organization that acknowledged [his] multiplicities-a social movement and [his] personal identity converged as [the] fathers discussed children of gay parents" (224). This was important for my relationship with my dad who remains quite closeted. I actually read several parts of this chapter holding back tears of sadness and excitement at the same time. It is important to note that there are outlets and groups to discuss queer life and the queer families too. I would like to find out more information for myself in regards to the daughters of a queer parent. I also found the title of the essay very touching.baby_book_for_children_of_gay_dads_binder-p127998845882464743ff6o5_400.jpg "My Daddy Loves Your Daddy" was actually spoken between the daughters of different parents who now had gay dads. As John said it, "...was a beautiful expression about gayness, acceptance, and family" (227).


Pidduck, Julianne. "Queer Kinship and Ambivalence: Video Autoethnographies by Jean Carlomusto and Richard Fung." GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 15.3 (2009): 441-468. Web. 01 Nov. 2010 .

Queer Kinship and Ambivalence

This article seemed very fitting in regards to heternormative standards and the exclusion and contesting of queer intimacy between friends and family. The author addresses kinship by use of queer theory with the intention of reformulating the hegemonic language and meanings behind family. The author also incorporates the use of autoethnography, which is, "...an autobiographical mode of research and writing
that integrates a first-person voice with ethnographic cultural analysis" (443). Pidduck follows Jean Carlomusto's To Catch a Glimpse and Shatzi is Dying and Richard Fung's Sea in the Blood and My Mother's Place
richard fung.jpg
Fung and Carlomusto make use of the autoethnography by incorporating the queer community, class, and race within their own families by clashing with heteronormative family ideals.

After furthering my search for intimacy within queer families, I now would like to try to find some research and/or stories that pertain specifically to me and my family. I would love to find quantitative research that gives information on kids of parents who came out in their childhood. Also personal groups, or maybe even books that have been published by the queer families.

Kincaid Diablog Summary

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The Kincaid article proved to be a hot topic between our group and also in our class discussion. A lot happened throughout the course of the week, this entry will serve as a kind of "instant replay" or refresher course for those of you who missed out or just want to relive its glory :)


  • We begin our discussion asking why child molestation scandals are such a big deal in our society. This can be seen in the examples provided in Kincaid's article of Willy Nestler and also the cult-like following of the Michael Jackson Scandal. We posed the question... Why do you think that it is such a big deal to us? undisciplined Sara Puotinen

  • #qd2010 Why are molestation scandals such a big deal? What does Kincaid say--what do we think?

  • We then raised the question-- why do you think that women are held to the ideal standards of youthful beauty... what does this have to do with Kincaid's idea of the "erotic child." Does projecting women as childlike serve a purpose in society?? undisciplined Sara Puotinen

  • #qd2010 A Glee digression....@sparky brings us back with the blank slate and connections to women and expectations of youth.

  • Was there something attractive to us about the idea of a blank slate, an erotic child? Does this ideology appeal to us because we can experience it through scandal? undisciplined Sara Puotinen

  • #qd2010 Kincaid: pious pornography (11)...virus that nourishes us...emptiness...forbidden/protected/unattainable produces hysteria

  • The idea of the feminising of the molested child, the little white boy, then comes to the surface. We ask how heteronormative behaviors influence child molestation cases and the hysteria surrounding them. Society tends to feminize child bodies, what does that say about feminine bodies??

  • How does or should a person treat another person who has been through molestation? when is it ok to talk about it? How many people have been through this kind of issue?

Shown in this list are live tweets from Sara, for more information about how these things were referenced in our initial entries, you can visit the Kincaid blog page at title of link

All in all, our engagement with Kincaid's article raised critical questions about heteronormativity, eroticism, the rights and abilities of children, and how society can or should treat these kinds of offenders. I end our diablog with one question... How can this be dealt with? What kinds of things do we as a society need to do or look at in order to make children more able to tell their stories?

Annotated Bibliography #2

Overview of Sources: Michael Warner
Each of these sources provide insight about the movement towards equal rights for people. These examples include a variety of free expression, cultural and political components, and the outlook on being normal and how normalcy defines the concept of marriage.

1) Michael Warner in Apparition of the Eternal Church

Michael Warner.jpg

I chose this picture of Michael Warner as one of my sources, because of the free expression inhibited by the gay rights leader. Warner seems so engaged with his thoughts and his ability to put up a fight towards equality appears to be endless. The power of the mind often times is more powerful than the power of words.

I believe that there is nothing more motivational or inspiring than a person's since of determination and perseverance. This image is the exact frame of mind that everyone should experience in terms of setting goals for themselves and others. If more people could engage in their thoughts and beliefs, chances are they would find their actions successful.

I found this photo by typing in "Michael Warner" into Google Images.

Festa, Paul. (Michael Warner in Apparition of the Eternal Church) 18 April 2008
http://www.apparitionfilm.com/cast/warnerbio.htm


2) Publics and Counterpublics
By: Michael Warner

Warner emphasizes that there is a difference between making something public, rather than making the same thing political. He explores the various components of culture, such as: the media, public speaking, and art and contrasts these aspects with attributes of politics, like elections, laws, lobbying. Warner provides a description of the ways that people create a social, theatrical space to express their argument to equal rights and how it contributes to the ongoing project of understanding the cultural work of performance in gender studies.

What Warner does here is highly significant in the sense that he is able to get individuals to look at different social and political aspects from different perspectives. By discussing these different components, individuals are able to see the big picture of the equal rights movement. It's like Warner describes the culture aspect as the protagonist and the political side as the antagonist.

I found this source by googling books of Michael Warner online.

Warner, Michael. Publics and Counterpublics. Cambridge: Zone Books, 2002.


3) Normal and Normaller: Beyond Gay Marriage
By: Michael Warner

Warner asks whether gay people want to be normal in a way that would be satisfied by marriage. He asks, "Is Sex Normal?" But what really defines normal? People believe that society defines normal, but that is only because society is close minded and has not been exposed to alternative perspectives and concepts, therefore anything not in the most familiar and recognizable state of mind is not "normal." Does marriage change people it inhibits or do the gay people change the concept of marriage?

I wanna know where the concept of normal really developed from. People and pretty much everything else on this earth is very different from the next. Normal to me doesn't always have to be the most potent or exposed idea, thing, or action out there, especially when talking about sexual preference. Just because homosexuality is not as prevalent as heterosexuality does not mean that it's not normal and the same goes with gay marriage. Just because you see more men and women getting married to each other does not mean that when two men want to get married it is not normal--that is called a double standard.

I found this source by googling books of Michael Warner online.

Warner, Michael. Normal and Normaller: Beyond Gay Marriage. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.

Ava. "Queer This: 'It Gets Better.'" queering desire: fall 2010. 18 Oct. 2010. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.
Nair, Yasmin. "Queer suicides: Complicate the issue." Windy City Times, 13 Oct. 2010. Web. 28 Oct. 2010.
Puar, Jasbir. "Preface: tactics, strategies, logistics." Terrorist Assemblages. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007. ix-xxviii. Print.

Annot. Number 2- Radical Sex

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For my second annotated bib. regarding radical sex practices I've decided to query beautiful/grotesque and desire/disgust binaries and how social media influences and shapes those ideas/feelings within BDSM. My sources are QueenSnake's blog, http://queensnake.com/blog/, (Beware! It does contain graphic content), Margot Weiss's "Gay Shame and BDSM Pride," and a conversation I had with my friend (who I shall call P) who is into the BDSM lifestyle. My friend "P" showed me QueenSnake's blog a few weeks ago while we we're at her house. The topic came up by her asking how my classes we're going and I explained this project and she happily volunteered some information. I found the article by Margot Weiss by searching the Ebsco Host database on the Inver Hills Community College website. The way they all connect and relate is by the fact of how they each bring an aspect of the beautiful/grotesque and desire/disgust binaries. "P" discussed how Facebook and blogs impact the view on BDSM in a positive and negative way and she expressed her feelings on how QueenSnake's blog represented a beautiful aspect on BDSM because of her "about me" section and also her pictures she posts on her blog. Margot ties with my other sources because it confronts how two organizations use different types of media to display a positive/negative view/public face.


While sitting on my friend, "P's" couch, we got into the subject of BDSM and it sparked a lengthy conversation of her opinion and experiences regarding the internet and how she came about the lifestyle of BDSM. She told me that she wouldn't have had the courage nor the knowledge to engage in the BDSM lifestyle if it hadn't of been for the internet. She told me that there are so many sites and blogs for the BDSM lifestyle that societies view is influenced in a positive and negative way. She has told me stories of people emailing her and several others within her BDSM group (they have their own blog and Facebook page) and telling them how sinful and demented they are for engaging in such an act. However, she has also received many emails thanking her for her openness and information and that their view on the lifestyle of BDSM has changed in a positive way. Here is part of our conversation:

P: "I think that society views BDSM with a sense of morbid curiosity- like watching a car accident or Jerry Springer. They want to 'see' it but don't 'understand' or 'accept' it. Many people think BDSM is 'goth' or some sort of 'perversion'. It's not. It's just another aspect of sexuality. Sex can be soft or hard, slow or fast, etc. BDSM just takes it to another level. There is a lot more psychology to BDSM than many people understand. The "dominant" is NEVER in control, but actually is constantly taking the 'submissive's' feelings into consideration. The job of a 'dominant' is to push the 'submissive's' envelope of comfort, but never to upset them or cause true harm. Outsiders (aka: society) don't understand this and think that 'dominants' are pushy/bitchy people and 'submissives' are weak/like to be hurt people. This is not true. I've had lawyers want to be submissive and housewives want to be dominant. I myself take both roles since most people are not all dominant or all submissive."


While "P" is uncomfortable with me giving her Facebook page and blog in this post, she has offered a youtube video that kind of describes how some members of the BDSM lifestyle feel towards pain and sex. This video has graphic material so be warned. It does start off really weird but it goes into an interview after about 30 seconds.


"P" also helped me find my second source- QueenSnake's Blog
. After our conversations she wanted to show me something that she thought displayed the BDSM lifestyle quite beautifully. Her blog has images and stories of personal experiences with BDSM and she also has a few entries about fetish parties. What I found interesting about her blog is her "about me" description. When I was looking through her blog entries I got a little sick to my stomach because some of the extreme images and stories and I almost argued with my friend about this site making BDSM seem beautiful, but then my friend showed me the "about me" page and I understood why she thinks that QueenSnake's blog is beautiful. In her "about me" section she states that "The BDSM word has different meanings, for me it is not just about pain and pleasure but also creativity." I think that at first glance, her website would cause a disgust binary to society because of the extreme images but on the other hand I feel like her "about me" section could calm people down with her meaning of BDSM being about creativity. QueenSnake gives a variety of links to different blogs on the lower right hand side: Twisted Blogs
and The Pain Loft

My last source is Margot Weiss's "Gay Shame and BDSM Pride." I found this source on my computer while searching EBSCO Host on the Inver Hills Community College's library database. The article describes an organization named "Gay Shame: End Marriage" and their tactics to advertise their beliefs and opinions. In 2004, Gay Shame stenciled a slogan onto the sidewalks of California that said Gay Shame [heart] End Marriage. They also have a website and their mission statement is, "GAY SHAME is a Virus in the System. We are committed to a queer extravaganza that brings direct action to astounding levels of theatricality. We will not be satisfied with a commercialized gay identity that denies the intrinsic links between queer struggle and challenging power. We seek nothing less than a new queer activism that foregrounds race, class, gender and sexuality, to counter the self-serving "values" of gay consumerism and the increasingly hypocritical left. We are dedicated to fighting the rabid assimilationist monster with a devastating mobilization of queer brilliance. GAY SHAME is a celebration of resistance: all are welcome."

gayshame.jpg


While Gay Shames mission might seem appropriate/honorable I think they take a little bit of a drastic measure to advertise their ideals. Do you feel this is a positive or negative mission/public face? Would you be influenced at all to attend their meetings? The article also reviews an incident in Maryland concerning an annual BDSM conference that was supposed to be held at the Princess Royale hotel. The hotel canceled the event at their location because of the uproar the public created because of the "freaks" that would be staying in their town which caused the NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) to get involved. Weiss states that "As explained on its Web page, the NCSF's goal is to create 'a political, legal, and social environment in the United States that
advances equal rights of consenting adults who practice forms of alternative sexual expression,' a goal they pursue through mainstream media, lobbying, legal casework, and policy advising. Thus, in the Black Rose case, they explained to the local media that the conference was 'going to be a lot of sitting in chairs and . . . lecturing on how to better your relationship,' and 'more than 75% of the people are couples, most of them married.'"


NCSF's tactic is much more subtle than Gay Shames and might be more affective in some way, shape or form. Do you think they use this tactic because of the issue their dealing with? Do you think if it was a topic that isn't so 'touchy' it wouldn't respond to such an uproar so rationally? Both of these websites create a positive/negative binary on their issue/views, but do you think using different tactics/resources would create a different image for the public? Some sites worth checking out are Gay Shame
and NCSF'sNCSF

Weiss, Margot D. "Gay Shame and BDSM Pride: Neoliberalism, Privacy, and Sexual Politics." Radical History Review 100 (2008): 86-101. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Oct. 2010.

Personal Interview with "P" by Dani DelCastillo. 10/01/2010.

QueenSnake. "My BDSM stories and experiences." QueenSnake's Blog. QueenSnake, Web. 1 Oct 2010.

Masculinities

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend about gender representation in child's films and children's books, and how frustrating it is that even in books the animals or otherwise ambiguous characters are gendered in certain ways: such as bows on the females and other ways of making the feminine/masculine divide really clear. I have noticed that now more than ever, children understand and know the terms gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (maybe slightly less) but are still taught with materials that haven't yet broken that divide. Children are beginning to understand that there are other ways of having relationships, yet these relationships are typically still not represented in children's films or children's books. Since these forms of media are really important and prevalent during children's development, it is important that other forms of relationships and more gender ambiguity are represented in these areas.

I also decided to analyze 2 other, completely different, realms of thought surrounding masculinity. I analyzed masculinity within Wall Street and the culture of masculinity in organized athletic sports. I noticed that within both areas masculinity is fostered by competitivness and agressivness. These are the characteristics that Wall Street and organized sports look for, yet they are deeply rooted in hegemony and masculinity.

alias, njaynewton. "Sexism, Strength and Dominance: Masculinity in Disney Films." YouTube. 12 Apr. 2007. Web. 1 Nov. 2010. .

This film is really interesting to me because I was always frustrated by the way disney movies portrayed women as princesses. Every little girl wants to be a princess! Why is that? And why do little boys begin to feel that they must be hypermasculine heroes in order to be "a real boy"? It frustrates me that we are taught that boys don't cry and little girls like pink. We gender children before they can even navigate those boundaries on their own. One part of this film points out that "men should view women as objects of pleasure or as servents to please them" whether the message is explict or not. One line from a disney movie states, "i couldn't care what she looks like, just what she cooks like". The ideal woman that a man in a disney movie looks for is one that is submissive, beautiful, marvels at his strength and manliness, and can take care of the house. Aren't these messages slightly outdated? Why do children still get these types of messages even though we are trying to teach them differently these days? Wouldn't that only further confuse them?

Another dominate theme I have noticed in Disney movies is that the refusal to fight or stand up to something is often seen as weak and unmanly. Children are taught to become men in very specifically gender ways, and girls are taught that the things most important are beauty and submissiveness. Boys and girls are equally taught to expect these things out of the other. In these movies the final scene always involves a battle scene, typically between 2 men, that fight for status or to win the love of a woman. Whoever comes out on top, is the better man.

Ho, Karen. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street. Durham: Duke UP, 2009. Print.

Another interesting aspect of masculinity that I recently started learning about was the hypermasculinity and competitive nature of Wall Street investment bankers. The culture of Wall Street itself is very sexist and racist by it's very nature. The Chapter I chose to analyze in this book is Chapter 1, Biographies of Hegemony: The Culture of Smartness and the Recruitment and Construction of Investment Bankers. Wall Street hirees are recruited from a handful of Ivy League schools by a charade led by analysts sent to smooze undergraduates into believing that they are the cream of the crop, the smartest and brightest people. In this structure, smartness is explicitly dependant on school pedigree as well as race. The complete equating of smartness with these institutions, the identification of historically white colleges as global, universal institutions, as well as the wholesale erasure of the white upper class male privilege embedded in these universities are part and parcel of how excellence is understood (p. 57). There are absolute class, race, and gender heirarchies that are perpetuated by and through the very structure of Wall Street. The culture of excellence Wall Street works so hard at maintaining is oppressive to many and leaves out certain people. It renders invisible its normative, unmarked privilege.

I think it is interesting to examine such a large institution as Wall Street and see how it organizes itself around such hegemony so completely and entirely. With the rise of large corporations and globalization we can look to Wall Street to set the standards when it comes to business and finance, but those with the money (i.e. the people on Wall Street) also perpetuate absolute racism, classism, and sexism within their way of life. This does not look as though it will change any time soon.

Denham, Bryan E. "Hegemonic Masculinity in Sport." Human Kinetics. Web. 1 Nov. 2010. .

Another area I decided to look at was masculinity in sports. Because I grew up in a family that places a lot of value on competitive team based sports and less on creativity, music, or individual sports I always felt pressured to be a part of a team. I felt that being on a team would make me more important. I have seen first hand what competitive atmospheres do to people. Like Wall Street, sports is another area that is based off competition, and where competition lies, masculinity seems to be it's front-runner.

This article talks about how homophobia is crucial to masculinity, and in the arena of athletic sports, homophobia is taught as a precondition to being masculine. Players that tend to lack aggressivness or "intestinal fortitude" are often labeled and mocked as being pansies or pussies. In this type of institution, men are often pushed so hard that they rarely feel as though they are at the point they want to be. This type of strain can make men feel inadequate and unsure of who they are. Athletic sports seems to be the dominant case for hypermasculinity within men. And since our culture is such a competitive one, dominated by sports and winning and losing, young boys are immediately taught that to be masculine means joining a sports team and becoming a "jock". And we all know the type of "man" the sports atmosphere breeds...

Here is my tangent- I COULD NOT HATE SPORTS ANYMORE THAN I DO! WE SPEND MORE MONEY ON SPORS FACILITIES ANNUALLY THEN EDUCATION SYSTEMS. WE BUILT 2 NEW STADIUMS IN MINNESOTA WITHIN 2 YEARS. THE FACT THAT ATHLETICS GENERATES THAT KIND OF MOENY IS BEYOND ME. MAYBE PEOPLE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ACTIVE THEMSELVES INSTEAD OF WATCHING SPORTS ON TV. REALLY? CREATIVITY, ARTS, MUSIC, AND INDIVIDUAL NON TEAM SPORTS ARE SEEN AS UNPRODUCTIVE? WHERE HAVE WE GONE WRONG?

Random Tip of the Day

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I just posted a comment with links in it. Want to know how I did it? In order to post links in your comment, you need to type in the html (hypertext mark-up language) for creating links. (You can also use html in entries--just make sure that you are not in the rich text format--see upper right hand corner) Here it is:

<a href="website address">title of link</a>

So, for example, if you wanted to link to my trouble blog, here's how the html code would look:

<a href="http://trouble.room34.com>Sara's trouble blog</a>. Sara's trouble blog

Put this html code in at the point in the entry where you want to the link. To check that you did it right, you can preview the comment before submitting it. 

If you want more advice, check out this link that I just found (here's the code for this link: <a href="http://werbach.com/barebones/barebones.html"<this link</a>). Anyone have an easier way to do links? Or more advice for using html? Post it as comments to this entry. 


Annotated Bibliography 2 - Eve Sedgwick

I realized that it is quite difficult to find works online that are related to Eve Sedgwick. It seems to me that the death of Eve Sedgwick is the main focus on a lot of online blogs. Although I do understand that she was a pioneer in the LGBT studies, I found a lot of books and articles related to the impact she has made on others.


Edwards, Jason. EVE KOSOFSKY SEDGWICK (Routledge Critical Thinkers). 1 ed. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print

I found this book using the University's library website, and this was one of the first few books that popped up. Although this book was not written personally by Eve Sedgwick, the author, Jason Edwards, takes a closer look into her work and how she has impacted his life. In this book, Edwards gives thorough definitions of certain terms and theories Sedgwick has derived during her lifetime. There is a chapter in the book where Edwards discussed about one of Sedwick's works, Epistemology of the Closet, and he examines the work in relation to his personal experience. He brings up the issue of how one defines a 'gaydar' or 'queerdar' and how it relates to Sedwick's book. Edwards explains that Sedgwick's work is focused upon how the viewer relates to the text and how Sedwick encourages readers to experience text first-hand instead of through marginalizing and pathologising the heteronormative beliefs that we exert onto queers. That rather than possessing a sense of 'gaydar' one has to open their minds to experiencing queer gestures, signs, images, symbols, and phrases.


Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Tendencies (Series Q). London: Duke University Press, 1993. Print.

A chapter in the book, Tendencies, Eve Sedgwick is presenting a speech about her dear friend, Michael Lynch, at a conference related to Lesbian and Gay studies. In this chapter, Sedgwick introduces her story of how she met Michael Lynch, a gay man who had white framed glasses that she loved. She goes on a journey where she finds the same white framed glasses that to her reminds her of Michael. However, her experience is quite different behind these white glasses. This is where she discovers the hidden meanings behind the white glasses. In regards to the conference that she is presenting this speech, the story is what inspired her to ignite the start of LGBT studies. In the way that it is written, the story is more personal and yet is a telling of how similar we all are to each other, despite our sexual differences.


Boldt, Gail Masuchika. "Sexist and Heterosexist Resonses to Gender Bending in an Elementary Classroom." Curriculum Inquiry 26.2 (1996): 113-131. JSTOR. Web. 21 Oct. 2010.

I found this article through the University's library website, which led me to JSTOR's files related to Eve Sedgwick. In this article, the author Gail Masuchika Boldt, discussed about gender bending in an elementary classroom. She focuses the article around an incident that occurred with one of her students, who was a boy and enjoyed playing with girls. One day this boy is rejected by his long time friends who explained to him that because he was a boy, he was not allowed to play with girls anymore. Boldt uses theories from both Judith Butler and Eve Sedgwick to explore the construction of gender and sexual identities. Boldt analyzes the reactions of her students when talking about gender identities and how her students could only describe others and categorize them into a specific gender but could not describe themselves individually, which leads to an "idealized gender identity" (Boldt, 117). In reference to Eve Sedgwick, Boldt brings into the discussion of effeminate boys and gay men, and how it ties into the psychiatric world. Sedgwick's book, "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay", Sedgwick questions that by pathologizing gender, it gives more power to the psychiatry to produce and be a participant of eliminating homosexuality. Boldt believes that by exposing her students to differences in a positive way, there is hope that they can become more open-minded. However, there are also complications with what the children choose to believe based on what they have been brought up to see and learn from.

query response 2 'bullying'

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The question posed was
"Question: Query: When it comes down to bullying, are social online networks just as dangerous for queer teens as they are offline?"

I think this is a particularly interesting and urgent question, in light of the recent suicides of young queers. What the suicides highlight, in an extreme fashion, is the reality of the internet. What is said online, and the identities created online are just as real and powerful as the physical bodies of the people creating them. I'm reminded of Stockton's "ghostly gay child" image--the online and offline identities could possibly seen as ghosts of each other, because they never quite exist wholly together, in the same space and time. But what DOES exist in both space and time, both online and offline, are the words written and the feelings engendered by those words. Words have power and words can be violent. Because online social networks like facebook are looked at as entertainment, their potential effects aren't often given much weight. But all of those profiles represent real people, and real experiences. And they can also facilitate real feelings that have physical effects, as in the suicides.

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